This book is the author's 1939 medical thesis and is dedicated to medical practitioners, paediatricians, and parents without prior knowledge of psychoanalysis. The author's aim was to sensitise people to the unconscious dimensions of many problems in children. She demonstrates here, through sixteen case studies, how often children's difficulties at school and at home - be they behavioural or due to impaired learning abilities - are the expression of psychological issues linked with their developing sexuality and castration anxiety, and result in physical symptoms such as enuresis and encopresis. The author points out that the awareness of the self and self-responsibility often develops for young people in families in which the parents do not know how to listen or even more importantly cannot be listened to with trust. There is also a summary of Freud's theories of the different stages of the evolution of the drives, as well as the central developmental role played by the castration complex, castration anxiety, and the Oedipus Complex.
Introduction by the Translators -- Preface to the 1971 Edition -- Introduction -- Theoretical Part -- Terminology -- Evolution of the instincts -- The Oedipus complex -- Enuresis -- Fear of death and castration anxiety -- Clinical Part -- Presentation of a method -- Observations -- Case Studies