First Feelings

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

The earliest stages of emotional development occur somewhat concurrently. During the first six months of life, the baby learns how to use his senses to explore his environment and to self-regulate. Parents can help overcome the excitability of the surroundings by creating a warm and supportive atmosphere.

From two to seven months of life comes the social development which is the basis for all future human relationships, followed, from three to eleven months, by the period when the child reaches out physically, emotionally and mentally, knowing that his actions will be reciprocated by his parents.

The emergences of the organized self takes place from nine to eighteen months as the child recognizes himself in the mirror and begins to talk. With that milestone the child develops some control over his parents, and the “terrible twos” emerge from eighteen to thirty-six months, a period when the child’s natural “bossiness” must be curbed carefully in order not to inhibit his initiative and independence.

Moral responsibility follows, finally, between thirty and forty-eight months along with a sense of time so that the child recognizes the consequences of his behavior and controls himself constructively.

This is a wonderful book which exudes warm and supportive feelings for both parents and babies. Guidelines for observing and charting progress are included, along with discussion of different parental styles and family stresses which may affect development. Such support should go a long way toward overcoming the feelings of helplessness which so often overwhelm new parents. Every new or expectant parent should find this book helpful.