Growing up with risk by Betsy Thom; Rosemary Sales; Jenny J Pearce

By Betsy Thom; Rosemary Sales; Jenny J Pearce

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Mitchell (ed) The Selected Melanie Klein, Harmondsworth: Penguin, pp 84-94 Klein, M. (1961) Narrative of a Child Analysis:The Conduct of the PsychoAnalysis of Children as Seen in the Treatment of a Ten-Year-Old Boy, London: Hogarth. , Glover, E. and Jones, E. (1927) ‘Symposium on child analysis’, International Journal of Psychoanalysis, no 8, pp 339-91. Kohon, G. (ed) (1986) The British School of Psychoanalysis:The Independent Tradition, London: Free Association. Laplanche, J. and Pontalis, J. B.

The best that can be done in such circumstances is to allow for a respectful space (both psychic and literal), if not a safe one, in which the young can come to terms with that state and work through the anxieties that make us human. The burdens placed on the mothering bond are social and discursive ones as well as the psychic ones that psychoanalysis focuses on, and they came to a particular prominence in the period that we have been discussing, the decades of the consolidation of child psychoanalysis in Britain.

Coggans and McKellar (1994) challenge this view, arguing that ‘peer preference’ rather than peer pressure is the key organising feature of young people’s lives. They argue that youths actively seek out, and connect with, like-minded people, be they those who endorse ‘antisocial behaviours’, or those whose group norms coalesce around compliance and general law-abiding behaviours. The older male groups in our study tended to downplay the dynamic of peer pressure, apparently because they had mastered ways of managing it.

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