The Unstable Child: An Interpretation of Psychopathy as a Source of Unbalanced Behavior in Abnormal and Troublesome Children

The Unstable Child: An Interpretation of Psychopathy as a Source of Unbalanced Behavior in Abnormal and Troublesome Children

The Unstable Child: An Interpretation of Psychopathy as a Source of Unbalanced Behavior in Abnormal and Troublesome Children

The Unstable Child: An Interpretation of Psychopathy as a Source of Unbalanced Behavior in Abnormal and Troublesome Children

Excerpt

The last word on the significance of mentality and mental testing has not been said. Social problems are beset with a tangled mass of psychological studies and reports which leave the person who has actual children to handle tired, perplexed, and at sea. Twelve years of mental testing by modern methods lie back of us. The optimistic assurance of the first few years of such work still persists among novices. The making of a psychological diagnosis is still considered in many clinics a mere matter of technical skill. But in the practical work of courts, dispensaries, and schools a new attitude of eager and critical questioning has developed. Managing the everyday problems of delinquent and troublesome children has definitely demonstrated the fact that a diagnostic classification or a mental age has little to do with the solution of our social and educational crises.

Is mental endowment an important factor in the evolution of the child who is potentially a law-breaker? Probably it is, but all troublesome and delinquent children are not feeble-minded or even backward. The child whose mental defect may be easily demonstrated by the routine of mental tests is not a difficult individual to handle. The question of obtaining permanent provision and protection for him may be difficult because of limited custodial facilities, but the individual himself presents no traits that are not easily understood and explained. It is the child who is bright but different, the child who gets along in his school work but who upsets the schoolroom by behavior which is exasperatingly unexpected, the child . . .

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