Dear Abby Letters
It seems someone in my family is always having a crisis. My older daughter is always worried about boys, my teenage son seems lost and uncomfortable in his own body, and my youngest girl refuses to give up diapers and move to the toilet. I’ve heard the theorist Erik Erikson believed crisis was part of life and that it opened the door to growth. Is this true? What are the basic principles of his theory and what recommendations would you offer a frustrated parent for working through these issues?
Crazy in Concord
Dear Crazy in Concord,
According to Erik Erikson crisis is to be believed to be a part of life, his philosophy and theory from the book “Developing person through childhood to adolescence” talks about the very first crisis of life which is known to be trust vs. mistrust.(pg. 208) Knowing that the bonds of trust can start out when you are about eighteen months old this is where they can discover the world and realize the safety of their environments pg.208) If your daughter is refusing to give up diapers it may because she feels comfort from it, positive reinforcements may be a good thing to consider such as candy when she uses the toilet. She may even need to stay in her diaper and feel the discomfort of the diaper if she peed ten to fifteen minutes and poo five to ten minutes. Being in the diaper would help her realize that she does not want this, but never make her feel ashamed if accident occur. Simply state “It is okay, you had an accident, it is alright, we will change you no big deal. (This is according to Shelby “How to potty Train Toddlers: Dealing with Potty training accidents”) Going back to Erik Erikson and his theory and what the basics issues of his recommendations of his parenting through these issues are two different stages of life. When it comes to the different stages of life such as trust and mistrust, Autonomy and shame self-doubt, Identity and role confusion, intimacy and isolation. These stages are good developing stages but mostly, I believe that your son, can pick up a sport or something that may help him start to feel comfortable in his body. Even though it completely normal to feel worried about your daughter who is always worried about boys talk to her about it. Discuss with her what your feelings are on dating and set some guidelines for dating, she sounds like she may need to be told what her boundaries are. These are just some of my ideas, that would help with your current living style.
I’m looking at various preschool programs for my daughter. Several have mentioned that they follow a Piagetian or Vygotskian approach. I’m not sure what that really means; can you enlighten me?
Searching in Sacramento
Dear Searching in Sacramento,
While looking at various preschool programs for your daughter you may want to consider what you believe your daughter should be learning. When researching into a preschool program what really matters when it comes to either approach is to know what your daughter’s structure should be like. A Piagetian theory is that preschoolers have language but not logic. Since a Piagetian theory means you have language and not logic, (pg.46) I believe that the school would work on trying to help develop the logic of your daughter’s thinking. The school should provide your daughter with language-based activities; story time, singing time, word games, nursery rhymes, and word games. These activities can provide the knowledge that she needs to learn. Learning to develop her logic at the preschool may help your daughter.
The Vygotskian approach in preschool is where your daughter can develop her cognitive skills through social interaction, and have an in-depth learning style.(pg.46) Attending preschool will help her develop her social skills and cognitive skills through interaction with other children and adults. You could look for a preschool that emphasizes learning through play.