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1. There appears to exist an Oedipal phase and the human has to go through the complex feelings of this phase to grow to an own identity. Usually, this process happens unconsciously. Because of this, not everybody sees its existence and not everybody beliefs in the existence. Nevertheless, it does exist. There is given enough clinical prove of it. We cannot see the electro-magnetic forces around us, but nevertheless these forces do exist. Oedipal rumble exists, but one only gives attention to them if something has gone wrong.

2. I have experienced the existence of this psychic forces, and that the may have long-term influence on human life. I have also experienced that problems can resolve themselves 

if, firstly, the problems before the Oedipal phase are resolved -- in my case: the ancient stew, the rest of an early-childhood depression -- 

and if, secondly, one gives room and time to the self-repairing ability of  the human soul.


3. A good relationship between the mother (or her male or female substitute) and the child is the fundament of all further development. If we take this idea for serious, it has far reaching consequences, for example for the maternity leave. The mother must not only be present, but also actively make contact with the baby and be available for the baby. This asks for careful attention for problems like post-natal depression and other problems that make the mother difficult to reach for the child.

4. Psychologically spoken, the father comes later in the picture for the young child, but he is no less important. He has to be present for a boy and a girl as an attractive figure. 

Absent fathers have been a problem in a great part of the 20th century. Fortunately, this has changed: modern fathers are more friendly and intimately than their fathers. This is important, especially for boys. 

In my opinion, and in Pollack's (1999) opinion, nowadays, there is still too less contact with the deeper inner of the boys. 

They become, in my opinion, too much only sturdy showing off. More emotional contact from early childhood on would give more chance to the other sides of their characters, so that boys can grow more to a whole personality. This might diminish several problems we now have in society with teenage boys. Our boys should be more independent of only experiencing 'kicks'. 

W. Pollack, Real Boys, Random House, New York 1998 (Dutch version).


5. Of crucial importance is not only the presence and the availability of the parents (or their substitutes), but especially the quality of the contact with the child. There must be contact with the inner of the child: the feelings, the fantasies, the playing with teddy bears and dolls. As soon as the child is able to speak, its questions are important.

It is important, at first to accept the child's inner world as it is, even if one still does not understand it. Understanding may be the next step -- at least trying to understand, to be wondering what lives in the child's soul.

Questions about sexuality have to be answered as open as possible from the start. One should know that the child already intuitively or instinctively has such knowledge, so it is better to also speak about the same. The child has to discover the difference between the gender and the generations, and has to cope with it.

"Mom, why do boys have a willie?"

6. The importance of the quality of the contact is also important for male and female substitute caregivers and for therapists and counselors. In this sense, contact is, by definition, personal. 
Impersonally and distantly using methods and social-technical skills does not work, or works contrarily. Methods and social technologies should only, and only if necessary, be used to establish the contact, and may, only with this aim, and only as far as necessary, control the behavior. 

This is, by the way, also the conclusion and the main thread of the methodology I have developed in my doctor's dissertation Conflict & Contact.

One has to acknowledge and accept, for example, aggression, sorrow, impotence, resistance ... and so on, as a meaningful aspect of humanity, for oneself as well as for other humans. 
One should as far as possible try to recognize these shadow side feelings in one's own inner. 
This is not easy. It asks to have an eye for one's own shadow side, and to accept it as a meaningful aspect of oneself.

Gieles 1992, p. 238.

There I speak about "contact including the shadow side, including one's own shadow side.

7. Again, an early-childhood depression  appears to be a serious problem (see: Narcissim). It is not possible to always prevent this, nor is this necessary nor always good. It are the first frustrations and disillusions who start the development as an individual personality. But, especially in the case of a depression, a good contact with the inner of the child is necessary. If there is such a contact, one may trust on the child's inborn self-repairing ability.

People who have the power to decide about peace or war, asylum or exile, reunification or split of the family, arrangements concerning parental access or baby-sitting, maternal or care-giving leave, must know their great responsibility for the contact between mother and child -- and thus for early-childhood depressions -- and have to bear the consequences of this responsibility. The interest of the child is important, not the interest of the state, the economy or public morals. 

8. Divorce may be inevitable and even may be fruitful. However, for the child it is crucially important to have both parents reachable and available. Usually, such problems concern the father figure. It is pernicious to portray the father as the bad man, and to create a coalition between mother and child that combats and banishes the father.

9. The differences between gender and generation is a biological fact that is nestled within our genes. Each child has to learn these differences, and this especially happens in the Oedipal phase. It is not good to make a mixture of gender and generation (like 'It does not matter if you are a boy or a girl,' respectively '... a child or an adult') -- No, it does matter. 

On the other hand, the difference is only important in the sexual and procreative meaning. There is no good reason to keep boys and girls, or children and adults, separated or to avoid contact or to keep the contact distant and superficial. Intimacy and personal contact are conditions for grow and development. One should not avoid these contacts because of fear of sexuality. 

Sexual contacts between the generations should be avoided. The limit here is not the age but the feelings. As long as youngster views an adult as belonging to the former generation, one should avoid sexual contacts, but not intimacy because of fear of sexuality. On the other hand, a gay teenager may have sexual contact with the sportive twenty who he or she has chosen as a friend and a guide. In this case, there is no view that the other belongs to a former generation. 

10. No parent is perfect and we do not need to be perfect. There may be circumstances that hinder good contact or make it impossible, and so inevitably call to life depressive feelings. This is as such not insuperable because of the inborn self-repairing ability of every child.

Nevertheless, this self-repairing ability needs a basis and needs food in the form of a good contact with a third person, a Vitalis, who feeds and maintains the vitality of the child. This third person may be a therapist, but this not always necessary. It may also be a teacher, pastor, child care worker, youth leader, foster parent or a self-chosen older male or female friend.

Respecting the limit between the generations, if viewed as such, there should be room for personal contact, contact with the inner, and intimacy: room for Warmth and Intimacy.

Also in this respect, it is the interest of the child that counts, not the interest of the state, the economy, a chosen theory or an appointed methodology, or public morals.
This is the moral of this story.

So the point is:

 - Not to be afraid to give warmth physically as a child care worker; not to give way to the fear of "what people might think of me". [...]

- To create within the team such a climate that as a house parent you can talk about all the feelings of tenderness or love also the feelings you have about your work, the irritations, being crazy about something. 

 "Every child needs at least one person who is crazy about him or her" 
(Cited by Maier in The core of care, 1979).

All this is extremely difficult: our culture, our education, certain theories about child and education, and our language seem to obstruct us. We are swimming against the current. For the children who need our warmth so much, we will perhaps be strong nad courageous enough to swim against that current; cautiously, but vigorously.

Gieles 1983/'87, Warmth and Intimacy...


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