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Project 2.

Study on the crisis in rearing relationships and the multiphase aspects of consciousness of child rearing

Through implementation of surveys and analyses of survey data regarding child rearing, we shall cover issues from interdisciplinary viewpoints and in a comprehensive manner, including realistic problems, such as difficulties in child rearing, difficulties in the relationship between parents and children, and young people who are not self-supportive, to theoretical and clinical problems, such as development disorder and failure of formation of attachment, and advance the development of practical programs. Also, we shall carry out analyses on society from the viewpoints of family sociology and population sociology through practical approaches and collaborate with communities who are working on countermeasures against the falling birthrate.

〈Overview of Project〉

The crisis of the mind of contemporary people is evident as observable events even in the fields of “child rearing” and “succession of generations”. Such observable events include non-marriage and late marriage of the young generation, the trend not to have any child, the increase in the number of infant and child abuse cases and their increasingly serious nature, and increased number of people who have no employment and people who are socially withdrawal (young people who are not self-supportive). Behind these crisis, there are various dimensional problems intricately linked together, such as enhanced penetration of a strong belief in efficiency and results-based system in the post war society of Japan, the intervention of medicine, science, and technologies in the bonds among people, gap between laws and systems, and reality, and problems surrounding cultural values and preconceived ideas on child rearing rooted deeply in the unconscious mind.

In recent years, the necessity of providing “support for child rearing” and “support for young people” has been socially recognized but measures taken by the central and local governments are not necessarily producing marked effects. We can say that the reason is because those measures have been reduced to one-sided, symptomatic treatment and that central and local governments have failed to sufficiently ascertain what is happening to “the mind” of people and what is required for people to grow comfortably as human beings participating in activities of “rearing and being reared”.

This study project is based on a viewpoint of clinical psychology. Clinical psychology as a science does not serve to provide support solely to those suffering from a disease or disability although it was regarded as so in the past. Instead, it specializes in demonstrating how to handle a person’s warring emotion and conflict in the face of difficulty, which can happen to anybody growing as a human being or rearing the next generation. Therefore, in this study, while giving attention to the backgrounds of a major problem in modern society, “diminishing function of rearing“, we shall ascertain and evaluate problems from disciplinary viewpoints, such as sociology, history of ideas, cultural history, childcare, education, and psychiatry, to discover clues that will lead to the creation of new supporting networks that help child rearing.

Specifically, we shall further develop joint studies we have carried out, specifically, “Contemporary People and Motherhood“ (1998 to 2002) and “Difficulties in Rearing” (2003 – 2007), and conduct studies concerning the relationship between “rearing and being reared” to be implemented from the following points of view.

(1)Attachment and separation

In the past, in terms of child rearing activities, the necessity of “attachment” was largely emphasized. Recently however, adverse effects on child development, such as bond of adhesion between child and mother, and father instead of mother, are being pointed out and it is also becoming important to explore the necessary and sound “separation” (between parents and children) when a child is growing up. This includes not only the parent and child relationships during babyhood but also issues a person faces during the course of his or her life cycle, such as independence of a child in adolescence and “parent’s letting their child go”. We shall pursue this issue through study on various literatures, interviews with parents with children from infants to grown-ups, evaluation of clinical example cases, evaluation of attachment patterns using projective technique, etc.

(2)Rearing experience for men

It is also a critical task to question the meaning of “child rearing” and “rearing functions” for men, which has not been placed on the table for study for a long time, and to discuss society and work (work life balance) so that both men and women can exist together as “rearers”.

We shall approach how people need to increase their awareness so that men can exert “rearing functions” in Japan today, where emphasis in efficiency and performance results are increasingly deepening and class differences are expected to continue widening, by implementing interview surveys and awareness surveys on people in communities from the viewpoints of sociology.

(3) Meaning of Rearing for people without children

Furthermore, we may need to question the meaning of “rearing” in life for those people who have chosen not to have children (including sexual minorities) or who cannot afford to do so even though they want to have a child. In this study project, we not only wish to continue seeking assistance for people who are now in the midst of child rearing, but also discover how every person’s life course varies in modern society in terms of the “rearer and being reared relationship”. As families are living increasingly behind closed doors and parents generally take care of their children alone, which are reasons for the difficulties in child rearing today, it seems important for people having no children to also be involved in “rearing” functions in society from practical perspectives. At the Council for Deliberations of Measures for Family with Children of Hyogo Prefecture, in which our researchers are directly involved as council members, methodologies of child care in community and society are being discussed and put into practice. Among others, ways in which a person without a child can be involved in child rearing has become an important issue. We would like to attempt to conduct exploratory studies in collaboration with practical approaches taken by Hyogo prefecture and other universities in the form of provision of assistance for child care.