He hit the studio like a small tornado.
The air was filled with yells, coaxing, scolding, threats and screams.
He had to be restrained from dismantling the camera. He kicked his
mother on the shins, violently rejected all the toys offered to him and
finally threw himself on the floor stamping and screaming. He was two
and a hall. His nine-months-old sister viewed his performance with
amusement cooing angelically. 'Oh, Christopher, look how good Baby is,'
said his mother.
The day had been disastrous from the
start, just when mother particularly wanted the children in a good mood
for the photographer. Christopher had started by tearing up the morning
newspaper. Dad had gone to work in a rare temper, glad to escape the
bedlam. On the bus journey to the studio the lady who had her hat
knocked off had said to the lady who had the contents of her shopping
basket scattered, 'I know what I would give him if he were mine.'
Christopher is on the studio floor in a
tantrum — a situation brought about by feelings of jealousy for the
baby. Tut he loves the baby,' mother sometimes protests. And in
apparent confirmation of this, he sometimes puts his arms round the
baby and gives her a rough kind of kiss. He has learned that this
little party-piece is a hit with grown-ups and earns him words of
Resentment of the new baby does not
always manifest itself in such an extreme fashion as in Christopher's
case. His parents having prepared him carefully for the new arrival, he
coped with the situation fairly well at first, until the baby had to go
into hospital for a spell. Now he had his parents to himself again and
he enjoyed the situation. But when the baby was brought home again and
became the centre of attention and fuss, the little boy felt left out
in the cold once more. One has to try and imagine what it is like to be
the first-born, enjoying both parents' undivided love and attention,
only to find that suddenly there is a rival for their affections.
Even with understanding parents, seldom
is jealousy not aroused. But if his hostility is driven underground by
unfavorable comparisons with the baby, or by excessive punishment, fear
of losing his parents' love will cause him to act in any way that will
draw attention to himself. He might feign illness, indulge in showing
off, or resort to temper-tantrums. He would rather be thrashed for his
bad behavior than feel he is being neglected.
Attempting to understand the causes of
bad behavior is half the battle. Most personality misfits of this kind
are due to psychological patterns in the unconscious mind. Once we
accept this we are liable to he more patient and to find an answer to
Let us ask ourselves what Christopher
feels he needs most. The most important thing in the world to him is to
have his mother's love for him reaffirmed. Ignoring his noisy
demonstration for the moment, concentrate on gaining acceptance from
the baby. Now take her on to your 'posing' bench and ask the mother to
take the little boy on her knee and nurse him. This may take some time,
because when a child has made a demonstration he often does not like to
give way or to 'lose face'. But the prospect of a display of affection
from the person who is the centre of his little world is usually too
good to miss.
As the little boy's rage subsides and he
snuggles into his mother, peace reigns again. So far, so good. Continue
to direct your attention to the baby, playing with her, getting her to
laugh. Take one or two shots of her. Bring out a selection of toys and
spread them around the baby. The older child, now reassured and already
feeling more secure, will notice that the baby is having a whale of a
time. Perhaps he is missing some fun.
Move your camera back to allow space for
him beside the baby in the picture-area. He must not be rushed.
Attempts at persuasion might put him on his guard again. Wait until he
shows signs of wanting to join the baby in the game. If you have plenty
of time and patience you will still get happy pictures of the pair