Saturday, October 20, 2012

Fears and Fantasies Part.I

For the first few years of life, children’s thought processes resemble those of our primitive ancestors: Youngsters are powerfully affected by invisible feelings and ephemeral images, but they cannot understand where these sensations come from. With their limited knowledge, young children find just about everything around them potentially scary. Until their mental abilities have matured enough to distinguish the real from the unreal, the external from the internal, youngsters are naturally susceptible to some degree of confusion and distress.
A child’s imaginative life begins to quicken around the time he turns two, a result of his newly acquired ability to create independent ideas on his own. Suddenly the youngster is the possessor of an entire kingdom of images that exist solely within hid mind: Side by side with the external realities of feeding and dressing, of riding in the car and playing with toys, the child now is contending daily with such illusory complexities as bears under his bed, monsters that chase him in his sleep and “friends” that are visible to him alone. At the same time, the child is struggling to sort out an inner world of intense feelings. Strong impulses that he will one day know by such names as jealousy and love and anger now strike him only as powerful sensations over which he has no control. These and other emotions, half-formed and only vaguely understood, blend with fantasy to create a host of fears and anxieties.