The Art of Tetman Callis Science Every hour is amateur hour

Every hour is amateur hour

“It might perhaps be possible to set afoot an enquiry into the mentality of the ‘average parent’ and to accumulate observations made in certain homogeneous and comparable situations, such for example as those in trains, especially on Sunday evenings after a day’s outing. How can one fail to be struck on such occasions by the psychological inanity of what goes on: the efforts which the parents make to catch their children in wrong-doing instead of anticipating catastrophes and preventing the child by some little artifice or other from taking up a line of conduct which his pride is sure to make him stick to; the multiplicity of orders that are given (the ‘average parent’ is like an unintelligent government that is content to accumulate laws in spite of the contradictions and the ever-increasing mental confusion which this accumulation leads to); the pleasure taken in inflicting punishments; the pleasure taken in using authority, and the sort of sadism which one sees so often in perfectly respectable folk, whose motto is that ‘the child’s will must be broken’, or that he must be ‘made to feel a stronger will than his’. Such a form of education leads to that perpetual state of tension which is the appanage of so many families, and which the parents responsible for it attribute, needless to say, to the inborn wickedness of the child and to original sin. But frequent and legitimate in many respects as is the child’s revolt against such methods, he is nevertheless inwardly defeated in the majority of cases. Unable to distinguish precisely between what is good in his parents and what is open to criticism, incapable, owing to the ‘ambivalence’ of his feelings towards them, of criticizing his parents objectively, the child ends in moments of attachment by inwardly admitting their right to the authority they wield over him. Even when grown up, he will be unable, except in very rare cases, to break loose from the affective schemas acquired in this way, and will be as stupid with his own children as his parents were with him.” – Jean Piaget, The Moral Judgment of the Child (trans. Marjorie Gabain)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.