Child upbringing

Αn article by Michael Ganz, M.D., published in The Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 10, No 2.

Functional Child-rearing

We had a talk on the weekend, Professor Mathews and I, and he commented that no one really understands children or child rearing from a functional point of view. It stayed with me as I looked over the material I was going to discuss tonight, so I went back, did some reading in classical literature, and found that he was correct. Despite the plethora of theories and psychodynamic formulations, there is little genuine knowledge based on functional understanding. Instead, one sees various nosologies derived primarily from the observation of disturbances in children.

The question is: Why is there such diversity? Why so many conflict­ing theories and so much confusion? And, mind you, all these disparate ideas and confusing theories are defended with tremendous emotional charge by their proponents, in meetings and in the literature.

The answer that orgonomy makes to-this question[1] is primarily that man has armored himself in the process of evolution. The effects that tire armor produces are multiple. First of all, as you know, if separates the individual from his core functions, his core emotions. The energy which is held back is utilized to maintain the armor. Now, that’s effec­tive in terms of containing emotional movement of suppressing excita­tion to a certain degree. What happens, however, when excitation from outside the individual becomes more than one can contain with one’s armor? In that case, the individual is forced to impose on the environ­ment, on that exciting, irritating force, some kind of control. This is the basic process in the emotional plague reaction: to inhibit in others what produces intolerable excitation within oneself. In this light, the child may be viewed as a powerful irritant to the armored adult simply because it expresses so much movement and emotional energy. The process of imposing armor upon the child due to intolerance of his orgonotic liveliness may serve as a kind of touchstone for all the things that 1 am going to discuss. •

Now, to cut through the morass of conflicting view’s about child- rearing, let’s try to grasp the energetic basis of the developmental process in the human organism. You have been introduced to the con- cept of superimposition. Newr life forms from the superimposition of male and female in the genital embrace. That superimposition is con­tinued on the level of the germ plasm, where the contact between the sperm and the egg cell produces a progressive build-up of excitation. That excitation increases the charge of the mother to a very high degree while, at the same time, a general softening occurs in her body (1). This may be experienced. in a number of ways. Let us say that the woman is unusually fortunate in terms of being less armored than most. In that case, she might be able to tolerate the increased charge, experi­ence the pregnancy with a great deal of pleasure, and regulate the excessive charge over and above normal by a periodic discharge in the sexual embrace, i.e., in the orgasm.

Let us suppose that the woman can’t tolerate the intense increase of charge or that, for some reason, sexual discharge during pregnancy is diminished. In either case, she might feel intense anxiety developing during the course of the pregnancy. Anxiety is understood to result from •contraction against an energetic push from within, a contraction against expansion. In some cases, when the contraction is insufficient to bind the outward movement of energy, the anxiety may become extreme. A complete loss of contact and of orgonotic streaming may occur, and the fetus may be experienced as an alien intruder within tine mother’s body. This could be conscious and might develop, to the point that the woman feels hatred toward the fetus and attempts to abort it. In such a situation, what is lost for certain is the pulsation function, the bio- energetic alternation of contraction and expansion within both mother and fetus. Our clinical evidence suggests that this loss of pulsation may .predispose the fetus to biopathic illnesses later in life. I reported in the Journal of Orgonomy (2), a case of very severe paralysis that occurred during the course of therapy, and a number of other therapists reported serious illnesses developing during therapy in patients similarly armored. Ir. ill these caves, there was evidence that the mothers of the patients did not want their children, that they actively, consciously, rejected the pregnancy and tried to abort them.

As an aside, let me point out that this kind of clinical experience can shed much light on the whole social controversy about abortion. If the woman says she doesn’t want the child, for whatever reason, tins is a compelling Contraindication to her having the child. She should be the one to decide in a situation like that. If the decision is taken away from her, the result will most likely be a disordered energy metabolism and specific vulnerability on the part of the fetus, and, later, a disturbed relationship between the mother and child.

Pregnancy should be a considered decision. We don’t live in a tribal village culture where the children are integrated into our lives to such an extent that they are not an event for which elaborate preparations have to be made. In our culture, children may be desired, but, without careful planning, they often become a burden. They get in the way, we don’t have time for them, we have to go on about our lives; mothers have careers, and the children have to “fit in.” Certainly, then, they have to be fit in with some, forethought.

Let’s talk about the delivery of a newborn. The various schools of natural childbirth have helped to a large extent. Their primary thrust has been to prepare the mother, to cooperate in the process of delivery. One thing that they consistently fail .to introduce is the concept of giving in to an event which happens involuntarily—giving in and moving along with it. This is a kind of approach that the Lamaze people don’t use. Their attempt is to relax the woman, to help her get above the difficulty of the delivery, and to reduce the pain somewhat by a highly artificial way of breathing. It’s certainly an improvement; hut the woman could be told that one can breathe with the contractions, that the contractions should be given into, and, most importantly, that her eyes should always remain in contact during the contractions. Usually, the woman in labor is allowed to go off in the eyes. I have seen this happen on many occasions. Whenever I have suggested that the woman maintain eye contact with those attending, the attendants have been quite amazed by the way the woman has been able to work with the contractions. As a result, in one obstetric unit, it was decided to include attention to eye contact in the protocol of delivery.

It should go without saying that the delivery itself should not be rushed. Medical attendants become anxious when the delivery slows down. Rather than allow’ the natural process to run at its own pace, they feel they must assert their control, so labor is induced or forceps applied. There are times when such intervention is medically indicated, of course, nut, more often, the delivery is an event scheduled for the convenience of the hospital, the physician, or the mother. The newborn’s need should be primary. It is to be neither pushed nor pulled into the world.

One thing that is overlooked is that the child is in a very protected environment in the uterus. The temperature is quite constant, the light is minimal, and everything is filtered through the maternal organism. On delivery, the baby may be shocked in a number of ways, and one should attempt to reduce the degree of shock to the newborn. How do you do that? To begin with, the delivery room light, focused with great intensity on the perineum, should be deflected at the time the head appears, to prevent shock to the eye’s. Another insult to the eye is caused by the instillation of silver nitrate, which is used to prevent infections that may be contracted as the infant passes through the vaginal canal. A baby who has had silver nitrate squints for five days, has swollen eyelids to the point where he can’t open his eyes, and, of course, can’t see. In the old clays, they said, “A baby can’t see when it is born; it can’t focus; it takes a couple of weeks before it can become aware of its environment,” And that was that. Now, I knew that children could see as soon as I started delivering them, and there wasn’t one baby I delivered that couldn’t open its eyes, look around, and respond to the environment. Actually, they can fix their gaze and follow a movement right after birth. Only quite recently have researchers documented and published such findings. It is of great importance to protect the eye immediately at birth from any shock so that this highly erogenous organ, this crucial distance receptor, doesn’t become injured and blocked from the beginning. Infections rnay be prevented by the use of nonirritating, broad spectrum, antibiotic ointments.

There has been some talk about maintaining the temperature of the baby. Excessive cooling of the room by air conditioning should be avoided. The extreme temperature change from warm to cold room is shocking. It is particularly helpful to immediately place the baby on the mother’s breast, where it should be lightly covered and allowed to nurse at once.

The newborn nursery is the most inhumane place in a hospital and should be abolished. Its only function should be that of isolating a sick newborn. As it is managed today, it has become a place for destroying a healthy newborn. The alternative concept of rooming-in is an excel­lent one; what’s even better is for the child to be in bed with the mother. Most babies will nurse right away, and they sleep for long periods of time, which gives the mothers needed rest. The importance .of continued contact with the mother is the point that I am trying to stress. After it has developed for so long in the uterus, the newborn simply shouldn’t be separated abruptly from the mother. As long as the mother is healthy and accepts the child, the continued contact with the mother’s organism is of utmost importance.

I belong to the “dry baby” school and wouldn’t bathe the baby until it is a month old. There is a protective coating on the newborn which is best left on. Very little can irritate them. Their exactions are very bland and they usually don’t get rashes that early, particularly if they are breast-fed. So, I leave them alone. The first bath should be introduced very gently and gradually, with the mother holding the child very close.

All handling of the child should, of course, be gentle and not anxious.

I don’t think it is necessary to come in every hour and take a rectal temperature, for example, which they do in hospitals. Nurses, along with their rectal thermometers, are always running around with little bottles full of glucose water. They become very anxious that the child doesn’t get enough fluid. If the child is put to the breast right away, although the milk doesn’t come in for maybe two of three days, what the child gets is sufficient. The available amount of colostrum, which is the first secretion of the breast, is not only sufficient to maintain the child, but also contains within it a number of essential elements which have recently been, found to be important in establishing immunity: Of course, if a mother doesn’t want to breast-feed her child, she shouldn’t be forced; she shouldn’t be made to feel guilty. If she wants to or is concerned about it, she should be encouraged.

Genital anxiety can occur in a breast-feeding situation. If she is alive in her organism, the mother will feel a great deal of pleasure from nursing her child. It has long been recognized that nursing helps to produce a contraction of the uterus after the delivery, and that this is beneficial as it reduces the amount of bleeding after delivery. But nowhere in any medical text that I ever read is there mention of the fact that nursing her baby is a sexually pleasurable experience for the mother. That becomes a problem for a number of women who fear that, the sexual excitation is abnormal, To be told ahead of time, “Listen, this is one of the things that you may experience, and it is perfectly all right,” will reduce much of the anxiety in the woman who experiences this for the first time.

Mothers who don’t nurse their babies should be told: “When you are holding the baby and giving the bottle, let the baby look in your eyes. Don’t prop the child up in a corner of the crib with the bottle and then pull the bottle out of its mouth when it’s empty an hour later. Stay with the child. You feed the child and you look.” The child drinks in tire maternal organism both with the mouth and with the eyes. It takes in feeling, it takes in energetic patterns. Contactlessly shoving a bottle into the child’s mouth offers very little, because the primary contact with both the nipple and the eyes is lost.

Toilet training is another great advance of civilization. One may rationalize early training by saying, “Well, it’s a social problem. He can’t go to nursery school or a day-care center before he’s toilet trained, so we’d better hurry it up.” In fact, it is because of a feeling within the parent that the natural pace can’t be tolerated, and, again, for con­venience, control must be established. One should recognize that there is absolutely no need to toilet train a child before the age of three. After the age .of three, the marvels of indoor plumbing can be gradually intro­duced to the child. But what happens when you start to train him before the age of three? The child is not physiologically capable of con­trolling the sphincters naturally, because complete neurophysiological maturation doesn’t occur on that level until the third year. So how does he do it? How does the eleven- or thirteen-month-old learn how to “go” on command at a certain time when that musical potty comes out? He learns by spastic contraction of the muscles of the pelvic floor, since the sphincter at this age .cannot hold the intestinal contents. What does this do? This produces a child with a very tight pelvic floor, hips, and legs. Thus, very early the basis is kid for a specific type of armoring, both muscular and characterological, which, though sometimes correct­able, in later life makes for many problems.

I think every culture that has come to this country has its preoccupa­tion with food, and every grandparent is concerned about whether the child is getting enough. But a child knows how much and what and when he wants to eat, He always knows. No matter how much you understand this, there is still a tendency to control. Most people can’t see it at all. They are absolutely sure that the child doesn’t know how much he can eat or when he should stop. In later life, an awful battle goes on over the dinner table. There are excessively fat and excessively skinny children all of whom have had someone hovering over them telling them what to eat and how to eat; they are made miserable by it. Parents of such children have come to me in desperation, and I suggest to them, “Just clench your teeth or leave the room, and try an experiment for one month—don’t tell the kid how much and when to eat.” In two • such cases, the parents marvelled at the change as the children began eating properly on their own.

Sleep can be another problem. Some parents wait until the child drops in his tracks before putting him to bed. One should not. Put the child to bed when he looks sleepy to you. Children love to be where the action is. They are smart, alert, and bright, and they don’t want to leave the, party. The typical permissive parent, who wants to be liberal with the child and thinks that this is the way for the child to, establish his own routine, will leave him alone. Then the child will literally fall in his tracks at one or two in the morning. Such parental behavior is actually an abdication of natural responsibility.     1

Infants and children should sleep by themselves. They may sleep with the mother following the delivery, but after a week or so, they should be put in their own crib. If they are frightened or anxious, of course they should have contact with the parents without necessarily sharing their bed all night. The independence that the child requires is in one way best served by letting him be by himself. There is a sound energetic basis for this. In order to differentiate his own ego boundaries, it is far better for the child to experience this coming and going from the mother over a period of time. It does take time for the child to become aware that it is a separate organism, but sleeping with the mother at the age of three is not the way to do it. There are many who will do this because of their own inability to let go of the child, as well as those who, because of their own lack of gratifying contact with the child, will attempt to make it up in this way. It is terribly injurious to the child and an example of substitute contact.

It strikes me that I have been talking about what most people might think are inconsequential things. How important is it to the child, really, that the conduct of the delivery is such and such, or that you handle it this way, or that it nurses, or that the mother isn’t anxious? How im­portant is all this in the long run? In terms of preventing armoring in the child, these matters are of tremendous importance. Because this concept is absent in the classical view of child development, many pro­fessionals in the field take the view that: “Generations of children have been brought up toilet trained by two years, and it doesn’t hurt anyone.” Recognition of the crucial importance of biological pulsation to the child’s health is lacking, so these matters to them are, indeed, inconse­quential.

One of the most frequent conditions producing disturbances in chil­dren is the abdication of natural authority that parents and other adults should responsibly use in guiding the child in his development. Just as with strict over-control, abdication produces the demanding, defiant, brutal, and angry child. Its origin lies in the inability or unwillingness of the patent to cope with the demands of child-rearing. Although it is defended as being a return to a more primitive or natural state, it actually represents a serious loss of contact between adult and child.

The functional opposite of that situation is the process Reich described as self-regulation. All of the details already mentioned relat­ing to child-rearing encourage self-regulation. The parent cars help the child to develop self-regulation by utilizing his primary orgonotic sense. Mow, what is the primary orgonotic sense? When you can discern from your child’s cry in another room whether he is hungry, or hurting, or angry, or wants contact, or is faking—when the child’s cry tells you something—that is a primary orgonotic sense. You may have, had the chance to hold babies of both sexes and recognize the basic qualitative difference between the feel of a boy and a girl. Your perception of that difference is a function of your primary orgonotic sense. People who rush at a child with a harsh or grabby attitude, who don’t consider whether the child wants contact or not, who can’t recognize when he is receptive, lack this sensitivity. Orgonotic sensitivity and contact are felt as pleasurable genital streaming in the nursing mother. The father should not be left out here. His intimate contact with the child will produce the same soft streaming of sexual pleasure. It is more intense in the woman, however, because the nipple and mouth unite mother and child to form one orgonotic system. This is an example of super-imposition, functionally identical to that which occurs during sexual intercourse, in which the vagina and penis unite the man and woman. Both events are similar in terms of excitation, interpenetration, energetic fusion of the organisms, and discharge. This discharge in the nursing infant was first described by Reich as the oral orgasm in which tremors begin around the baby’s mouth and spread over the body, which quivers and then relaxes.

It is primary orgonotic sensitivity, then, which produces in the adult what I term contactful response. Specifically defined, contact is the accurate perception of one’s own sensation above a certain threshold of excitation. Contact with another organism implies mutual excitation, but not necessarily physical closeness. It occurs, for example, when people are excited by looking at each other.

The contactful response, in dealing with children, is responding in the correct way in each situation, and its main effect is to bring the child into better contact both with you and himself. One must be aware, for example, when some activity that is exciting a child passes from natural to artificial. Some children are extremely lively. Some of them are witty and clever in a natural way. They are best described’ as imps, These imps, when they become overexcited, can become real terrors. Their cuteness can become forced. They know they can get a response from the adult, and there is something very distasteful about it at that point. One has to be able to recognize when that, substitute behavior takes place, put a stop to it, and not respond to it automatically as if it were still pleasing.

One has to be flexible about all these things. There are no hard and fast rules about how you respond to- a child. At times, you might feel it important for a child to just go ahead, whine or have a tantrum, and work his feelings out himself. At another time, it might be more rational to bring out the anger that’s behind tire whining. One just gets a sense of these things when working with a child.

Children live very much in a world of their own. They enter ours every once in a while, but their perceptions of the world are unique and intriguing because they haven’t been structuralized. As they grow older, their fantasies can become more extraordinary. One shouldn’t try to correct them, saying: “No, that’s not real; that isn’t the way it is.” For example, take the game that everyone plays with clouds: “That’s a horse, that’s* an elephant, that’s an alligator, that’s an alligator with a horse’s head.” Some parents can’t tolerate that: “Don’t be ridiculous, it doesn’t look anything like an alligator; an alligator can’t have a horse’s head.” And they go on restricting or denying the fact that the child sees something in a particular way. A freely permitted fantasy life in child­hood is important because it permits the development of the crea­tive process. Those adults who are the most creative in every sense are the ones who were most able to fantasize freely when they were children.[2] Every intellectual function is enhanced by that kind of experience in childhood, and there are ways by which it can be pro­tected and encouraged.

A contactful response is one that encourages expression on the part of the child as long as that expression 1) doesn’t infringe on the rights or the comfort of others and 2) is not hazardous to the child. They must be helped to recognize and respect the needs of others and to avoid situations that might be dangerous. This teaching is the responsi­bility of the parents. For example, one has to help the child recognize that natural behavior such as masturbation may be perfectly acceptable at one time and place and something that should be inhibited in another because it produces a disturbance in certain people. There is a quality of natural awareness that these children, raised in a self-regulatory, contactful way, develop. They see V hen a strange adult or visitor cannot accept what they are doing. They aren’t the ones who just go ahead defiantly to demonstrate how “free” they can be; rather, because of parental guidance in these situations, they simply get out of the situation or don’t impose their behavior on other people. Such natural awareness is acquired over a period of time in the contactful environment. Where that environment is lacking, children lose touch with themselves and are unable to perceive the needs of others.

Let’s talk about limits. The word is frequently used in the following way: “Well, some limits have got to be placed on the primary destruc­tive expressions, or you will have an uncontrolled situation with a kid v/ho is defiant, brutal, spiteful, etc.” The error here lies in the belief that equates destructive or anti-social behavior with natural aggression. In fact, natural aggression originates in the biological core. It is the movement toward the world, the activity of the individual directed into his environment. It may be forceful but is not harsh, self-assured but not pushy. In the child, it is seen in his play, social activity, and show of emotion. What happens when the adult can’t tolerate these expres­sions? He becomes anxious and tries to restrain them, to hold the child down. This restraint, which frequently is not overt, produces a physical tension in the child that causes what was originally a gentle, self- assured expression to become brutal, sadistic, and hateful. These are the emotions of the secondary layer against which the limits are then set for reasons of cultural necessity. The final product is the well brought up, civilized, restrained, unspontaneous, armored child whose life energy is absorbed in maintaining this social facade.

Restraints against the child’s behavior take two forms and each has a qualitatively different result. One, usually harsh, direct, and physical, used by working class, religious, oi military families, produces armoring which is tough and hard, but orderly. In treatment, the origin of the armor is usually clear. When the restraint is enforced by an attitude or an appeal to the intellect, as in the modern liberal, there is great incon­sistency, the armor has a disorganized quality, and its origins are confusing.

Now you may ask, “Doesn’t teaching the rights of others or protect­ing the child involve discipline?” Indeed it does. He must be taught not to run into the street. A two-year-old should not be expected to recognize the consequences of this acts simply by explanation. If he beads for the street, he must be told not to and at the same time be hit firmly on the bottom. It is not that you are infuriated or that you want to bend the child’s will to yours; rather, it’s that you want to bring him into contact with how deadly serious you feel about this behavior. Nothing does it faster or more clearly than a slap on the bottom. In disciplining, the parent feels no hatred but deep concern for the child’s well-being. The child knows this intuitively and can recognize the difference between discipline and a brutal assault. Take the situation in which the child is being a terrible nag. He is overexcited, irritating to everyone, sparking off in all directions. You may say, “Look, I really don’t want you to do that. Knock it off.” The child looks at you, hears it, but just goes on. At this point, you realize that he’s out of contact, unreachable, and his behavior is intolerable. You stop the behavior and bring him into contact with himself again with a firm hit to the behind. Immediately, his eyes open up, he may cry, and, typically, he will come to you to be held afterward. It isn’t that he wants reassurance that “Daddy and mommy don’t really hate me,” but that he feels better, relieved, and is capable of making contact in a gratifying way.

Let me give another example. My three-year-old is a child of our mechanical age who loves machines with buttons and dials. He began to play with my tape deck. So I told him once, “Don’t play with the tape deck.” I told him a second time: “Go to your own toys. Don’t play with that.” The third time, he got a whack. On passing by the tape deck for the next two weeks, he frequently said, “No daddy’s toy,” and smiled as sweetly as could be. This wasn’t a disturbed, upset, fearful, or traumatized kid; nothing injurious was done to him. He just got the idea that his toys and daddy’s toys are separate, and this extended to include other objects, so now “daddy’s toy” is the adding machine and the typewriter.[3]

What one must not do with the child is appeal exclusively to his intellect. Certainly, you explain the reason that you insist on something. You say, “Well, you don’t play with that because it can break and it isn’t a toy, and I need it for my work.” But, if a child, especially a very young one, continues something wrong and you sit him down and repeatedly explain (why he shouldn’t make noise1 or run across the neighbor’s yard, for example) it becomes unfair. You force him to use his head as a governor of his bodily excitation before his thought processes have matured sufficiently to do so. It may be effective and avoid physical discipline, but it produces much guilt in the very young child, who must think a great deal before he can act. Appeal to the intellect of the older child for social control, from age five or six, is more appropriate. By this time, greater ability to delay gratification has developed, and the child has acquired a better understanding of others’ rights and needs.

Now I don’t say that you go around hitting as a matter of course. You don’t. Again, your primary orgonotic sensitivity has got to direct it. Did you ever see a lioness with her cubs sit down explaining why the cubs shouldn’t go, so far beyond the confines of the cave? No. When the cub goes too far, the lioness goes out and whacks him—and not as gently as I am advocating. The lion cub is literally picked up and thrown several feet in the air. The mother goes over and nuzzles him afterwards, and the cub knows not to go that far. That’s the function in nature which I am suggesting is more natural to use in bringing up our little children.

I’d like to make a comment here about the eyes, first described as a major erogenous zone by Dr. Elsworth Baker. You notice that children’s eyes are much softer than ours. They are sparkling bright with a limpid depth that indicates a lack of armoring. Many things can disturb that softness. For example, hard looks full of anger, hate, or resentment cause the child to squint or look away. When he does, one of two things is happening. Either he tries to protect himself against the insult, or he can’t express his own feelings through his eyes back to the adult. For these reasons, it’s a very bad idea to sit down, glare into his eyes, and say, “I told you six times not to do that; your grandmother told you…”, because the child contracts at this point. He doesn’t even hear what you are saying. All he knows is that this is a frightening situation, and he contracts, first in his head and then generally. You don’t see a child contract in that fashion when he’s hit in a rational way. Follow­ing an initial startle response, release of tension occurs, and one sees an expansion and that the child is then more receptive to contact When you yell at a child, threaten him with loss of love, make him feel guilty, or explain excessively, you see him contract into himself, and it takes a long time for that contraction to be overcome. The child becomes compliant but nasty, because he’s got to express his activity in some way, and he senses, not intellectually but with his whole organism, that there is something unfair.

Adolescents have an awful time. They are in a world not of their making and it can be miserable for them. One sees in adolescents a rejection of the adult world replaced by strong allegiance to a peer group. This leads them into thoughtless and potentially dangerous situations where they accept dares, engage in ritualized behavior, and where, on an emotional level, they actually regress. A child who might be developing fairly well- without guilt in terms of his basic bodily functions may suddenly get worse in adolescence, go sour in some way, And all of this behavior, which you know about from your own lives, I am sure, is called normal adolescent rebellion. There isn’t any­thing normal about it at all. Reich put it in the following way (3): “… the whole sociological school in psychoanalysis which abolished the libido theory, the sexual theory, and says ‘not sexuality but society’ is plain evasion, a plain fear of getting in touch with the worst mess in which humanity finds itself, a man’s sexual neurosis.” That was the lead into the following statement, which I think is of extreme impor­tance: “I don’t believe that there will be any solution of any social problem as long as children and adolescents grow up with a stasis of biological energy…”

The adolescents of our culture have an even more difficult lime than those of earlier generations. Previously, sexual repression and sex-­negative attitudes went hand in hand. Those who were able to express their sexuality did so surreptitiously and with guilt. Today, the adoles­cent is bombarded by stimuli which represent sexuality in brutal and pornographic ways. The ubiquitous use of drugs, the pressure to con­form, and strident calls for “sexual freedom” produce a severe emo­tional disorganization that frequently results in confusion of sexual identity. What is touted as sexual freedom is, in fact, licentiousness of the worst kind, functionally identical to sexual repression. The common functioning principle of both attitudes is the rejection of genitality. The use of drugs and encouragement of frenzied pregenital and per­verse impulses creates even more tension in one already subjected to the high charge of emerging sexual excitation. Failure to obtain gratification under such conditions produces frantic substitute behavior in an organ­ism weakened by armoring which develops in a chaotic fashion.[4]

These few examples show clearly how far we are from general social affirmation of adolescent sexuality. Nothing less than an entire change in the emotional structure of men and women in our culture is required. In that light, we can understand Reich’s estimate that it would take several thousand years.

In school, sex education is a hopeless mess, at least so far. It is contrived, artificial, and is often programmed. It describes what goes on in the sexual encounter fairly well, but in a purely quantitative way. The quality, the feelings and emotions, are left out. The genital is presented as separate from the rest of the body, as it is in pornography, where the appeal is to the head and the genital is misrepresented and isolated. In terms or the orgasm formula, mechanical tension and relaxation are described, but bioenergetic charge and discharge are overlooked- Some adolescents know that what is being taught doesn’t happen in life. Those who have better understanding can reject it; many cannot. They struggle, become confused, and leave these classes with distorted ideas about sexual functioning. To make matters even worse, there is a trend to indoctrinate “alternative life styles” in whirl) neurotic activities (e.g., homosexuality) are presented on a par with heterosexuality. All of this is the direct result of the educators’ inability to tolerate these natural expressions of life in others and attempts to suppress their emergence. To remind you of how I began this discussion, here again, is an example of the emotional plague imposing armoring on the child.

What do you do? Education can help a great deal, but education primarily in the home with parents or adults who are for genitality themselves. This implies, for example, helping with birth control in a practical manner and providing genuine privacy for the adolescent in the house. Only in such an atmosphere will teenagers learn to handle their love relationships in a responsible way. Can one be surprised that such a pitiful few are able to do so in our sexually “enlightened” times?

Finally, I should like to stress one-thing. Parents cannot be perfect. We are going to make mistakes with our children. As parents, you must be careful not to expect perfection from yourselves, and, as edu­cators who have contact with parents you must be careful not to make them feel that they have to do things in a stereotyped way. Our main task is to recognize our children’s needs and correct our errors when we are able. Our children will respond to our love arid respect and trust and be the better for it.

[1] I am very grateful to Drs. Elsworth Baker and Richard Blasband for clarifying many of the points in this discussion.

[2]This is not to be confused with excessive, neurotic fantasizing in a withdrawn child, which often represents a masturbatory equivalent.

[3] Orgonomists’ experiences with child-rearing are mostly personal father than clinical, and thus debatable. For instance, despite acknowledging the overall excellence of Dr. Ganz’s lecture, some doctors question his views on spanking, and we might recall that Reich him­self greatly regretted the one time he hit his small son, Peter. Some also feel that valuable equipment, “attractive nuisances,” and dangerous items should be kept out of the reach of small children. This lack of consensus points up the urgent need to continue the infant and child research begun by Reich—CFB.

[4] For a comprehensive discussion of these problems see “The Rise of the Psychopath” by Dr. Barbara Koopman, the Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 7, No. 1.