The Growth of the Child: Reflections on Human Development

The Growth of the Child: Reflections on Human Development

The Growth of the Child: Reflections on Human Development

The Growth of the Child: Reflections on Human Development

Excerpt

A bit of apprehension is mixed with the satisfaction that accompanies publication of this collection of research papers and theoretical essays. Many of the pieces were written for a small audience that understood the controversies, scientific techniques, and jargon that permeated each manuscript. These tacit understandings between writer and audience embellish the prose with sentences that never have to be written. Moreover, since the audience for most of the papers was professional, it was not necessary to hem every speculation with a caveat. But when these thoughts are taken from their original context, places unclothed alongside one another, and presented to an audience that, although educated, may not appreciate the tacit contracts, the danger exists that the whole will lack coherence.

In order to provide some binding material, I have written a short introduction to the 12 papers in this volume. Two criteria were used in selecting the essays: I avoided the excessively technical manuscripts found in professional journals and chose papers that dealt with a central issue in human development.

The first seven papers discuss the forces that contribute to psychological change -- in essence, the mechanisms psychologists call upon to account for growth during different stages of development. This theme requires us to consider the nature of the child and adolescent and how our conception of these phases of development is clouded by ideology. The last five essays examine the presuppositions that support some of our favorite words -- intelligence, deprivation, family, love, emotion. These concepts have been with us for so long that we have stopped asking about their origins and accepted the functions they have come to assume as their proper ones - - like the remnants of a baby blanket that has been used as a psychic comforter for so long few remember its original shape or purpose. Fortunately, both issues find a common thread in the . . .

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