Few jobs are as creative as child rearing, but too many of us tend to belittle it "because anybody can have a baby," Dr. Benjamin M. Spock told an audience at Lowell House last night.
On the other hand, many parents "louse themselves up" by taking children too seriously and constantly categorizing them in terms of Freud, Spock, author of the best-selling Baby and Child Care, continued.
Before 1900 everything was simpler, Spock said. But people "inhibit themselves" by knowing about Oedipus complexes and the like, he added. He advised young parents--there were many of them in the audience--to reset a little less cautiously and somewhat more instinctively to their tots' extreme demands.
Spock illustrated man's "curve of physical growth," and discussed its relationship to the accompanying emotional stages of the child. He pointed out that the sporadic human cycle differs uniquely from the smooth development of other animals.
The almost total cessation of growth between ages nine and thirteen--which varies with the individual--is particularly fortunate, Spock added. The child is given time to "understand the way society operates" sexually and morally, before he acquires all of the physical maturity to deal with it, he explained.
Asked how he felt about early sexual relationships, Spock that there was no stock answer to the question, but discouraged people from "idealistic" backgrounds from "feeling guilty" about sex. Young couples should remember that "the whole recent development of the world" has carried them toward a earlier sexual relationship, he said.
The higher the educational level, however, however, the more inhibited, Dr. Spock continued. Referring to the Kinsey reports, he stated that the college student is likely to satisfy his sexual drive much later them the uneducated individual.
"Is there any Freudian theory you find unacceptable?" one spectator asked the tall child psychologist. Spock answered that he only found fault with several modern interpretations of Freud. "I can never get over how smart Freud was," Spock added, "not to have tried to advise parents how to bring up their children."