No one is born a parent; no one really is a perfect parent. Dibs: In Search of Self is a perfect example of this as both parents had no idea how to raise a child in a loving, compassionate home. Dibs’ mother stated from the get go that the boy seemed to have it out for her and he was responsible for ruining her and her marriage. The father was completely wrapped up in his work and studies and made sure he’d made no time for his children. Additionally, his children had been instructed to stay out of his room while he was home. Once Dibs’ sister is born, he is again pushed further away as their mother spoils the little girl. Eventually, however even the sister is sent away to a boarding school.
I am not so sure I enjoyed this book as I felt rushed reading it (by the author) and that it were too abbreviated in its entirety. I have read other case studies through my child development studies, and those works were much more detailed. This book felt more like a story being told, instead of in-depth observations. I was expecting the author to elaborate on the issues surrounding Dibs’ behavior, rather than just explaining them away as the mother and father.
Dibs was lost in his world with very little connection to any other human beings. His parents’ lack of parenting and nurturing caused his internalization where he couldn’t control his feelings because he could not understand them. Through play therapy, Dibs learned he could control the tap water in the play room sink, he could control who was buried in the sand, he could find himself by working out what his feelings were and what they really meant. However, he couldn’t get the nipple back on the baby bottle. He’d splash in the water, turn it down to a slow trickle, turn it on full force and he would sing to it, yet he repeatedly asked Miss A to replace the nipple on that bottle. (Axline, 1964, p. 159) This showed me that he indeed was an adolescent who desperately needed...
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