The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa on August 31, 1975 · Page 46
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August 31, 1975

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The Des Moines Register from Des Moines, Iowa · Page 46

Des Moines, Iowa
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 31, 1975
Page 46
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HOME & FAMILY DES MOINES SUNDAY REGISTER • August 31, W5 SECTION E Mi MaiflM RMitttr •ii4 Tribune Csmntiy The keys to rearing a competent child By BARBARA KABAN and BERNICE SHAPIRO THe Harvard PrescKool Project offers suggestions, encouragement and some words of caution for parents of young children*./ _^ Sam is a cheerful 1-year-old. His father is a doctor; his mother is a lawyer who has decided not. to practice while her children are young. Sam's older sister and two older brothers are school-age. All four children have free run of the house. The dining room is used as a play room; toys turn up wherever the children play! Generally, Sam can find something to play with in whatever vicinity his mother is working. Although they are frequently in close proximity, Sam and (Reprinted from Harvard Magazine through the courtesy nf the. author a and the magazine. * 1975 the Harvard Magazine, Inc.) _ his mother spend little time in exclusive concentration on each other. When Sam seeks her out for information or help, his mother responds quickly, favorably and enthusiastically, but these interchanges seldom last more than a minute. Even at the age of 1, Sam is fairly independent. He will approach adults other than his mother for help; if necessary, he may seek aid from an older child. When he asks for help or attention, he really needs it. He —doesn't-cling often. Like all children, —though", fie" knows how to whine and cling when it suits him. . When Sam can't find anything interesting to do, his mother will introduce an activity, but she expects him to carry on by himself. She may pull a chair over to the sink, fill it with water and some toys, and invite him to play there. She doesn't mind his splashes and mess. This may occupy him happily for half an hour. A safe stool stays near the bathroom sink, so that Sam may wash his hands easily when he has to. His mother enjoys giving him such opportunities to be independent. Stairs climbet Like other 1-year-olds, Sam is very preoccupied with climbing. His house has hard wooden stairs, which could be dangerous to him. But his mother likes to take the time to let him climb while she stands nearby and watches. She also lets him use a small slide in the playroom, keeping an eye on him as he does so. When Sam does something that bothers his mother - such as Magic Marking the wall - she responds quickly and consistently, making clear to him that he's out of bounds. She also may decide not to put Magic Markers out for him until he is older, avoiding difficulties for both of them. Like all .children, Sam likes to be where other people are "Gee, that's great," his mother may say when he shows her that he has fitted two parts of a toy together. She appreciates what he does, and recognizes its worth, Even an independent child like Sam needs much praise and encouragement, Sam may approach his mother for some kind of response as often as twice every five minutes. The response she most often conveys is, "Yes — you're a worthwhile, competent person." • David is a well-developed 1-year- old. He has no brothers or sisters. A housekeeper takes care of him during the day, while his parents workrTKe housekeeper is restrictive. She doesn't want David's mother to think she hasn't been cleaning the house, so she keeps him confined. She may allow him a whole room to himself, but she gates him into it, essentially putting him into an outsize playpen. David's playroom seems_to_be_filled- with every imaginable toy, but the toys never are found outside that room. When David's mother is at home with him, she feels she should entertain him all day long. She decides what he will play with. She may decide to build an entire farm with him, and gets out all the little animals and blocks herself. David shows more interest in rolling a ball, but she insistently redirects him to the farm. David's mother is nervous about his attempts to climb stairs, so she blocks them off with a gate. At the end of one weekend, David colored his bedroom wall with his crayons. Both parents were angry. David had not meant to taunt them; it-was simply that j^euncrayoned wall was not precious to him. Comforting note Both Sam and David are hugged and kissed often. The difference is that when Sam has been comforted thoroughly after a fall, his mother puts him down again. Roughhousing, hugging and kissing are all parts of Sam's day, but when he squirms to get off his mother's lap, she lets him down. David's mother often keeps him in her lap long after the squirming begins. She often carries him, too, when he doesn't need it. Food plays a more prominent part in David's house than it does in Sam's. David's mother and housekeeper often give him food for comfort or distraction. It is as if food is being offered in place of the human response David is asking for in approaching an adult. He gets a cookie instead. David is scarcely aware that adults can be an attentive audience. He seems accustomed to adult contacts as a random series of affectionate or hostile encounters. He is learning that the activities he initiates are not the valued ones. • For nine years, the Harvard Preschool Project has been studying Davids and Sams. Its staff is trying to discover what it is that helps young children become competent. This report on the project contains suggestions and encouragement for all who live and work with young children; words of caution, too, for mothers who expect to work full time during the early child-rearing years. lowans abroad dream of. home By REBECCA PARR I tirrtM***"! •« TM MCUI irrtM**" Neither Bill Helgason nor Suzy 01- sen is crazy. Yet . . . Bill Helgason lives and works in Paris - and dreams of life on an Iowa farm. Suzy Olsen lives and paints in Florence - and dreams of moving to Iowa City. To lowans in Iowa, all this may indeed sound crazy. lowans in Iowa dream of the romance of Paris, the enchantment of Florence, the excitement of London. (For that matter, lowans in Iowa even dream of the racetrack in Omaha.) But for lowans abroad, there's no place like home. "I often dream of going back to Iowa, and I intend to, someday, says Suzy Olsen, who, by some definitions, isn't even a real lowan. But she did study at the University of Iowa in Iowa City for a year, and she says she was touched by the sense of community and intimacy „ among the people at the university, in the town and on the farms. "Florentines are hard to get to know well," says Olsen, who moved to Florence with her artist-husband in 1967. Meanwhile, in Paris, Bill Helgason, economist, is talking about money "You know what I would do if I had $400,000 or $500,000? I would sink it into a nice-sized farm in northern Iowa." Lacking $400,000 or $500,000, Helga- DREAMERS turn to page/our Between the ages of 8 and 17 months, most children force a test of their family's capacity to rear, children. The primary burden in most cases falls upon the mother. The start of crawling at about eight months - together with the child's intense curiosity, his poor control of -his—body, his lack of awareness of common dangers and the value of objects, as well as his ignorance about the rights of others — cause a great deal of stress on the child's mother (and whoever takes her place when she is away). Social influences In addition, at the end of the first year of life a baby begins to reveal a rapidly growing awareness of himself as an individual, this identity largely is shaped through social interchanges with his mother. These interchanges also appear to shape the child's basic orientation toward people! in general. Through interactions with his mother, he seems to be acquiring his basic style as a human being. What does all this mean for the development of the competent child? We believe it means a great deal. Studying children's emerging abilities as we do, we.are struck by the obviously overpowering influence of social and motivational forces on a child's learning experiences. The very competent children we have studied certainly require an appropriate physical environment to learn in the impressive manner they do; but the essential ingredient seems to be the complicated but understandable, direct and indirect, human contact — most often with mothers. • We believe that most women are capable of doing a fine job with their —1 to 3-year-old children. Our study convinces us that an effective mother need not necessarily have a high- school diploma, let alone a college education. Nor does she need to have much money. In addition, it is clear that a good job can be done without a father in the home, or without a happy marriage. Many of our most ef(ective mothers- do not devote the bulk of their day to rearing young children, since many of them are involved in pursuing interests of their own, or hold part-time jobs. What they seem to do - often without knowing exactly why - is to perform the functions of designer and consultant for their children's lives. Inexpensive toys By that we mean they design a physical world (mainly in the home) that is beautifully suited to nurturing the burgeoning curiosity of the 1- to 3-year-old, and they respond appropriately when the child approaches them. These homes have many small, manipulate, visually detailed objects, some designed to be toys, oth-. ers designed for other purposes CHILDREN turn to page four TdSldTuUlhaTSaximum opportunity to exercise curiosity and explore his world r»Wlf^f^fOTWl^''^^ < ^H-' / '- ">"•"- MfcW'*. >?. ^» «••/>"' '•>,'*.', P.^A*,,.-,; ^ #. * ,.~.,»^^.., New treatment for alcoholics: Detoxification in a social setting BY PATRICIA COONEY Detoxification in a social setting — outside the atmosphere of a hospital ward or a jail cell - has been going on for more than a year now at the Central Iowa Alcoholic Center (CIAC) in Des Moines. It is unique in the state. Quentin Hunter, director of the facility housed in the former nurses' residence on the grounds of Broad- lawns Polk County Hospital, says the social center approach is working. Hunter, once administrator of the Harrison Treatment Hospital for Alcoholics which closed here last year, says, "When we can serve three times as 'many persons for half the cost and expand the services being provided, in this day of inflation, that U a miracU In my church," From its opening July 1, 1974, until June 30 of this year, there have been 2,898 admissions at CIAC, which serves residents of Dallas, Madison, Warren and Polk Counties, but it is open to all persons regardless of residence. Nearly 200 have been women, and the youngest admitted was a 15- year-old girl. Per diem costs fluctuate. As the census goes up, the cost per patient per day goes down. The average cost is below $30 a day. If a person cannot pay, the county of his or her- residence picks up 25 per cent of the tab and the state division on alcoholism pays the remaining 75 per cent. There are 66 beds at the center, including 14 for males and eight for females In the detox unit Other* ar« for persons in the 10-day in-patient program. The setting is non-institutional. Residents are free to roam the grounds and use the recreational facilities if they wish. There is a TV and coffee room. Floors are carpeted and lounges tastefully decorated. There is a well-stocked refrigerator where anyone can get a snack at any time. Detoxification means sobering up -- allowing alcohol to leave the system and permit organs of the body to readjust to normal functioning. It may take a few hours. It may take a few days. "Time is the one thing detoxification requires," says Hunter. He points to figures showing that only 5 per cent of persons in detoxification centers need immediate care. "What most need is supportive care in serene, non-threatening surroundings," he adds. While the center is non-hospital based, all of the medical facilities of Broadlawns are available. In the event there is a medical complication, the alcoholic person immediately is transferred to the hospital for care. The center actually is a department of Broadlawns. Hunter is quick to point out that the hospital is the key. "Here in a so- DETOX Please turn to page five

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