Instruction to the subject
Please write a short essay on the topic “My child.” You decide what needs to be mentioned in it and what not. Form and style are free.
No explanation of content or scope is required; if the subject insists, repeat the instruction again.
Essay interpretation scheme
When interpreting an essay, it is proposed to use content analysis techniques that imply the allocation of certain categories found in the text and corresponding to the goals of diagnostics. In this case, the goal is to obtain information about the attitude of the parent to the child, which is less subject to conscious correction than when filling out questionnaires. However, since the questionnaires themselves are based on typical statements of parents who have problems in relationships with children, when you first read the text, you can highlight the wording that reproduces the points of the questionnaires that diagnose parent-child relationships. If such statements spontaneously appear in the parent essay, then their interpretation can be correlated with the content of the corresponding scales.
The next step is highlighting the prevailing themes :
Determine who is the main subject of the description (the child, the author of the essay (“I”), the group on behalf of which the author builds the story (“We” – the parental couple, the author and his parents who take part in the upbringing, other characters (for example, an older or younger child, other children, etc.)) – this parameter characterizes the position of the child’s image in the author’s picture of the world;
The images of “third parties” mentioned in the essay deserve special attention: the composition of this category is important (for example, it can be the author’s parents or his spouse, but there are essays that tell a lot about doctors or teachers, the author’s friends, etc. ., which characterizes the intra-family situation in terms of its resourcefulness for the author), but even more important are the assessments given to these characters and their influence on the child;
determine the time that is given the most attention in the text of the essay (past, present, future) – this allows you to judge the temporal representation of the image of the child, the flexibility and adequacy of the parental position;
determine the prevailing psychological modality of the narrative (mention of feelings, thoughts, desires, actions), which characterizes the style of attitude to reality; special attention should be paid to the modality of obligation (“must”, “mandatory”, “necessary”, etc.), the prevalence of which may indicate the authoritarian parental position;
Determine the predominant emotional background of the text (among the references to feelings and emotions, highlight positive and negative ones).
The significance of a topic is determined by the number of units related to it contained in the text. In addition, the importance of the topic is evidenced by the tendency to detail in its presentation, as well as the presence of repetitions (indirectly, this is expressed in what place the topic occupies in the text).
In terms of content , such indicators as “self-diagnosis”, signs of parental uncertainty, and psychological position play an important role in characterizing parent-child relationships.
Self- diagnosis is reflected in the construction of the plot of the story and the indication of causal relationships in the text. Particular attention should be paid to the presence and nature of the assessment of one’s own participation in the upbringing and life of the child, as well as the participation of “third parties”, pointing to which the author explains the success or failure of the child.
In terms of confidence, the parental position can be described in opposition to “overconfidence” (which is associated with the rigidity of ideas about the child, and often the lack of an adequate idea about him: qualities, desires and actions are attributed to him, and such descriptions are systematically accompanied by definitions “very”, “always” , “never”, “only”, “of course”, etc.) at the same pole and “complete uncertainty” (the author’s lack of his own position, contradictions between individual fragments of the text, numerous question marks, perhaps the paucity of presentation) – on another.
The psychological nature of the parental position is evidenced by the tendency to describe the personal characteristics and manifestations of the characters in the story, to comment on actions and events from the point of view of their psychological content. The absence of this quality is manifested in the fact that the genre of the text is approaching the informational one (dates, objective circumstances and events are listed).
As a special manifestation of the parental position, well fixed with the help of this technique, one can single out a kind of exaltation when referring to the topic of child-parent relationships. Often this feature is revealed in the writings of mothers – women actively use various means that increase the emotionality of the text (numerous exclamation points, punctuation, writing in capital letters or in a breakdown, the use of “emoticons”, etc.); at the same time, exaltation is accompanied by expressions of high confidence of parents. However, when analyzing the thematic content of such texts, it turns out that, as a rule, the main attention is paid to the character “I”, and not to the child. Despite the abundance of diminutive forms of the child’s name and other words denoting him (“daughter”, “eye”, “kitten”), his inner world is not an object of concern for exalted parents, which should be noted as an essential characteristic of parent-child relationships .
By counting the number of units corresponding to the selected categories, and highlighting the most common categories, we get the opportunity to describe the attitude of the author of the essay to the child, the intra-family situation, to himself as a parent.