The fifth birthday represents an important landmark in a child's development. He is now ready to start full-time primary school, and we no longer speak of a baby or a little child; instead, we refer to the boy or the girl. Over the next five years, as his horizons become wider and his experiences outside the home increase exponentially, he seems to become more reserved; more difficult to approach and share things with. Sometimes, ordinary questions are ignored or responded to with some apparently unrelated answer. Occasionally, the child will move away even while someone is speaking to him. This is a child trying to make sense of his new experiences, adapting to new people and places, while preserving his link to his earlier environment.Adults can feel frustrated by this behaviour and impatient, but when moved to protest, tend to use words of exasperation rather than plain anger. There exists an unspoken understanding that the child needs time to adjust to his new pattern of life. However, not all over-fives are like this and we do find some who seem to blend into the new pattern of life and carry on with their home life as if no major change had taken place.
A. H. Brafman trained as a psychoanalyst of adults and children. In his NHS career he worked as a Consultant in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and for many years ran a group for parents and under-fives. He ran Infant Observation courses at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and also seminars on psychodynamic work with children, adolescents and adults for the British Society of Psychoanalysis and several other training organizations. He was also Honorary Lecturer at University Hospital Medical School, where he taught students and psychotherapy trainees. He has published a number of books, including 'Untying the Knot', 'Fostering Independence: Helping and Caring in Psychodynamic Therapies', and 'The Language of Drawings: A New Finding in Psychodynamic Work'.
About the Author Series Editor's Foreword Introduction - The child's view of himself - The view of the world around him - Gender identity - Siblings - The child at school - Problems with teachers - Problems with peers - School phobia - Sphincter training problems - The child in the community - The wider family - Sleeping problems - Divorce - Adoption - Absences - Illness and Death Index