As emotional problems in children are closely rebated to disturbances in parent-child relationships, much of the discussion was focused around this aspect of the topic. Much of the pediatrician's activities with parents concerns itself with attempts to influence parent-child relationships for the benefit of the child patient. A great deal has been learned in child psychiatry about the management of untoward and destructive parental behavior. Much of this knowledge can be used by the pediatrician in his day by day practice. Although, some psychiatric techniques are not applicable in the practice of pediatrics, it is important for the pediatrician to understand his role and not to assume that he is or needs to be a psychiatrist in his attempts at solving difficulties which are presented to him.
Psychiatry has learned some things of what the parent-child relationship shouldn't be. The question might then be raised, "What is a good one?" This can be defined as the capacity in the parent to meet with the child in all matters of day by day living without undue tensions, anxieties on preoccupations. Brenneman has pointed out that about 80% of the practice of pediatrics is in dealing with the parents and one most work through them in an effort to solve the child's problems. There is seldom a situation that involves only the child. It almost always involves the parents and their interaction with the child. Our understanding of many emotional problems has been furthered by our greater knowledge of child behavior and yet we are still too ready to categorize parents and especially mothers with such words as hovering, rejecting, cold, warm, etc., which have little real meaning in terms of understanding how they got that way.
- Copyright © 1957 by the American Academy of Pediatrics