Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing

By A. S. Neill | Go to book overview

Love and Hate

The child receives his conscience from his mother, his father, his teacher, his minister--from his environment, in general. His unhappiness is the result of the conflict between conscience and human nature; or in Freudian terms, between his super-ego and his id.

Conscience may win so complete a victory that the boy becomes a monk, and entirely renounces the world and the flesh. In most cases, a compromise takes place--a compromise that is partly expressed in the phrase, "to serve the devil on weekdays and to serve God on Sundays."

Love and hate are not opposites. The opposite of love is indifference. Hate is love that has been changed to the other side of the coin--by thwarting. Hate always contains an ingredient of fear. We see this in the case of the child who hates a younger brother. His hate is caused by fear of losing mother's love, and also by fear of his own revengeful thoughts about his brother.

When Ansi, a rebellious Swedish girl of fourteen, came to Summerhill, she started out by kicking me to make me angry. I was the unfortunate substitute for her father, whom she hated and feared. She had never been allowed to sit on his knee nor had he shown her love in any way. Her love for her father had been changed into hate by his not reacting to her love. At Summerhill, she suddenly found a new father who did not react with sternness, a father whom she did not fear. Then her hate came out. The fact that next day she was exceedingly tender and gentle to me is proof that her hate was merely disguised love.

To understand the full significance of Ansi's attack on me

-301-

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Summerhill: A Radical Approach to Child Rearing
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • To Harold H. Hart vii
  • A Foreword by Erich Fromm ix
  • Contents xvii
  • A Word of Introduction xxiii
  • One - Summerhill School 1
  • The Idea of Summerhill 3
  • A Look at Summerhill 13
  • Summerhill Education Vs. Standard Education 24
  • What Happens to Summerhill Graduates 29
  • Private Lessons at Summerhill 35
  • Self-Government 45
  • Coeducation 56
  • Work 59
  • Play 62
  • Theater 66
  • Dancing and Music 71
  • Sports and Games 73
  • Report of the British Government Inspectors 75
  • Notes on His Majesty's Inspectors' Report 86
  • The Future of Summerhill 89
  • Two - Child Rearing 93
  • The Unfree Child 95
  • The Free Child 104
  • Love and Approval 117
  • Fear 124
  • Inferiority and Fantasy 133
  • Destructiveness 138
  • Lying 146
  • Responsibility 152
  • Obedience and Discipline 155
  • Rewards and Punishment 162
  • Defecation and Toilet Training 172
  • Food 177
  • Health and Sleep 182
  • Cleanliness and Clothing 184
  • Toys 188
  • Noise 190
  • Manners 192
  • Money 198
  • Humor 200
  • Three - Sex 203
  • Sex Attitudes 205
  • Sex Instruction 218
  • Masturbation 223
  • Nudity 229
  • Pornography 231
  • Homosexuality 234
  • Promiscuity, Illegitimacy, and Abortion 236
  • Four - Religion and Morals 239
  • Religion 241
  • Moral Instruction 247
  • Influencing the Child 255
  • Swearing and Cursing 259
  • Censorship 263
  • Five - Children's Problems 267
  • Cruelty and Sadism 269
  • Criminality 272
  • Stealing 276
  • Delinquency 282
  • Curing the Child 289
  • The Road to Happiness 294
  • Six - Parents' Problems 299
  • Love and Hate 301
  • Spoiling the Child 306
  • Power and Authority 309
  • Jealousy 317
  • Divorce 323
  • Parental Anxiety 325
  • Parental Awareness 331
  • Seven - Questions and Answers 341
  • In General 343
  • About Summerhill 348
  • About Child Rearing 355
  • About Sex 369
  • About Religion 373
  • About Psychology 375
  • About Learning 378
  • Index 380
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