Desktop version

Home arrow Sociology arrow Infant Observation: Creating Transformative Relationships


Jealousy of the new baby spoiling all his relationships

Unlike before Eric no longer restrains the expression of his hostility to baby by directing all hostility to mother or the observer. However, his physical attacks on baby are very tentative and clearly marked with some respect for the fact that baby shouldn't really be hurt.

Eric at twenty-eight months: When mother arranges a bath for Eric and his baby, Eric throws his stuffed rabbit at Daniel, then he sips some bathwater and spits it at Daniel's face. Eric then quickly covers baby Daniel's face with a wet facecloth. Later Eric is obviously concerned about doing damage when he picks up a little tiny plastic frog and tells mother, "The eye is out." In an attempt to make things better, Eric gives baby a little plastic toy saying, "Daniel likes to eat it."

Watching baby suck on the toy provokes Eric's jealousy of baby at the breast. When mother attempts to give baby a yellow plastic barrel Eric cries out, "I want it, Mummy." He shouts until mother takes the toy away from baby and gives it to Eric. But it is not the toy which Eric wants, for when mother gives baby another toy, Eric cries and screams with a desperate, piercing sound, "I want it Mummy."

The toys symbolise all mother's emotional riches which are now also bestowed on the new baby and Eric is riddled with jealousy of baby receiving a share of mother's love. When mother takes him out of the bath, he refuses to stand. Instead he raises his legs causing him to drop in a heap on the carpet. Then he begins biting the carpet and making all sorts of "gooh-gooh" sounds.

After mother dries him, Eric hurriedly runs for the comfort of his father's lap which is free of the new baby.

Eric at twenty-eight months: Eric rests his head against father's shoulder while sucking forcefully on his middle two fingers. Father begins reading a bedtime story, which Eric usually enjoys. Eric cannot focus on the pictures, for he keeps looking across the room at mother feeding baby.

Eric's relationship to the good internal mother usually allows him to maintain an avid interest in storybooks. However, here we see that having father's attention does not succeed in blotting out or sufficiently mitigating Eric's jealousy of the new baby feeding at mother's breast. Eric's jealousy of baby with mother interferes with his pleasure of looking at his books and being with father.

Found a mistake? Please highlight the word and press Shift + Enter  
< Prev   CONTENTS   Next >

Related topics