Kid and mirror. Steps to understanding of of
Sooner or later each kid has an acquaintance to a mirror. If to trust such recognized authorities on the field of children`s psychology and development as Merlyn Segal (“The child plays: from the birth about one year“), it is already useful for mother with kid to carry out that similar acquaintance at two-month age.
M. Segal suggests to hang up a mirror near a children`s little table, from time to time to change clothes of the child before it and to play with it the game “Look in a Mirror“. As practice shows, children react to a mirror and the reflection in it differently. Someone notices himself at once and begins to consider with interest. Someone does not even look at reflection and seeks to be engaged in something in another. However sooner or later the kid begins to show interest in the reflection: at first is surprised, then admires and as it becomes more senior, game with a mirror gives it the increasing pleasure.
Most of psychologists refer the period of active games with a mirror to age from 7 months to 1,5 years. The delight and triumph of the child, his infinite experiences with a mirror at this stage are connected with self-identification and development of ability to take a detached view of itself that finally is part of process of formation of the personality. Watching the child of eight months, you will notice that he recognizes something in a mirror image, as for it directly, is to it as reality which is somehow coordinated with his own behavior: gesticulation, a mimicry, the movements, etc. the Child shout and a mimicry shows the interest in this object, he is captured by constantly renewable game with a mirror, he watches repetition of own movements and a mimicry in a mirror, plays with change of location, and sometimes even shows “personal“ feelings in relation to the reflection, for example, kisses it. All this allows to speak about “recognition“ of in a mirror. Most likely, in mentality of the child at this moment there is an opening of an opportunity to connect among themselves separate, fragmentary experiences of itself and own body which it had up to this point, in uniform, complete corporal space.
It is unconditional, game with a mirror - only one of opportunities to be shown for that tendency which was already outlined in development of the child. Not to us to judge as children would develop if people did not use mirrors in everyday life, but, most likely, eight-months kids would find some unpredictable way of establishment of own identity. Just at this age the child begins to feel as integrity, as the being having a name, a body, reason, perception. The mirror in this case helps it to connect internal feelings with a visible complete image and to lay the foundation to the mental work peculiar only to the person. For the first time for the child there are “I“ though it “I“ am not “formulated“ for him yet. For comparison:“ partiality“ and subjectivity in relation to an image which shows to seven - the eight-months child, brightly contrasts with the indifference shown, for example, by the cub of a chimpanzee too noticing the image in a mirror, but practically at once losing interest in this object as this object is not capable to interact with it directly. The chimpanzee have no understanding of, the child in the first games with a mirror of postulates. Yes, he realizes himself as the personality much later, but the psychophysical foundation for this understanding is laid already now. This distinction between an animal and the person looks especially amazingly if to consider that the seven-months child in the tool intelligence lags behind a chimpanzee with which will catch up only approximately by eleven months.
in process of a growing at the child reaction and behavior in front of the mirror changes. To illustrate these changes, we will give the research conducted by the American scientists Lewis and Brooks - Gunn (it is described in G. Krayga`s book “Development psychology“). To track progress in development of self-knowledge of the child, they made with children of different age several experiments with a mirror. According to results of these researches, development of self-knowledge in the early childhood finds a number of stages.
Till 6 months of children is obviously attracted by an image of the kid in a mirror, but is unclear whether they learn the own image (it difficultly to check). Sometimes 6 - monthly children understand that their own movements correspond to those movements which they observe in a mirror.
Between 7 × For 11 months babies are capable to understand distinction between own image in a mirror and mirror images of other people obviously different from them, for example the child of advanced age or the adult. During this period children begin to connect concrete features of appearance with feeling “I“. Nevertheless, the child of this age can sometimes creep around a mirror, trying to find “other“ kid. If the researcher makes lipstick a red tag a nose of the kid, that will notice it, but will begin to show on a nose in a mirror, but not on own.
Approximately in 12 - 15 months the started walking children already do not need any external hints any more to establish connection between the kid in a mirror and themselves. That is they understand that they see an own image. Now, if the researcher puts the red end to the child`s nose, typical reaction will follow: the kid will point to the nose, will turn away from a mirror, will look down, will smile, and will look confused.
K 2 - m to years the knowledge of extends even more and includes not only knowledge of the appearance, but also understanding of in what the child is engaged. So, the two-year-old child, smartening up in front of the mirror, admires himself and if sees dairy “moustaches“ on lips, - laughs and erases them. After 2 years children behave in front of the mirror the same as adults.Data of this research say
that the perception the child of the mirror image develops from identification with it before understanding that reflection is not he. The child begins to learn to take a detached view of himself. This process reflects, eventually, the contradiction which is concealed in depths of mentality of the person which became a stumbling block for philosophy and received a set of names and treatments. As Zh. Lakan wrote, at a meeting with a mirror the child “appropriates“ the image, “having checked“ by infinite manipulations and experiments that this image - its own. Respectively, this image of a body becomes that matrix which forms his further ideas of itself for the child. The external image becomes a basis for development of internal perception and thinking: from now on the kid will “represent“ himself in a certain image. At the same time own image of the child will be initially aloof from it as in speed it will open that it is only an image (besides, the return), but not he. At some moment the growing-up child realizes (and it will be already following stage of its development) the discrepancy of own reality.
All described stages - only natural process of mentality of the little man. However many children as a result of the most different violations during this process lose touch with the body, so, and with part of the personality. They cannot apprehend the experiences, block them in the body and subconsciousness. Development of mental capacities (the “reasonable“ and “social“ personality) is torn off from development of a body (persons “corporal“ and “emotional“). For restoration of contact with the body and emotions there is a set of exercises, including (as it is paradoxical) with a mirror. It most often exercises on development of the emotional sphere when by means of a mirror the child learns to realize the emotions, their corporal expression, and by means of it, to connect to the feelings and corporal experiences.
the body In itself is at the same time both “external“ and “internal“ object. External - as it is affected by world around as any other subject, internal - as is “receptacle“ of feelings and conditions of the specific person. In our culture the attention is most of all paid to development of the “social“ personality who, actually is aloof, “secondary“ “product“ and only mediated has relation to the person per se. To help the kid to avoid violations in psychological development, it is necessary to help it to come into full contact with the body. There are many methods helping to make it. It is massage, yoga, a kinezoterapiya.
So when you see the kid in front of the mirror again, you will already know that interesting game and unusual behavior of the child before it - no other than a starting point in development of consciousness of the child. Do not miss this moment. And you will be able to understand a lot of things in the child, and, above all - will be able to help him with further development of his personality.