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Raising Children*
Richard Schwartzman, D.0. **
Reprinted from the Journal of Orgonomy, Vol. 19 No. 1
The American College of Orgonomy

I will discuss how the emotional plague works to stifle children and make them neurotic. Orgone therapy strives to remove the armor that is laid down in infancy and childhood, and to restore the body biosystem to its original unarmored state and natural functioning.

The goal of functional childrearing is to prevent the armoring process and maintain natural functioning as much as possible. The theory is simple, and 1ike most theories that are simple, putting t into effect is rather complex and difficult. There is much at work in the environment directly, through particular individuals in contact with the child, and indirectly, through social organizations and situations that work against the natural rearing of children. And, also, in the environment, a factor that must be considered, is the actual atmosphere itself, and how that has an effect upon the child and his energy movement. These factors combine to continue the armoring process from generation to generation. How this is perpetuated and what we can do about it is the most crucial work for the future of orgonomy and for the future of mankind.

Reich tells us "The fate of the human race will be shaped by the character structure of the Children of the Future" (1:5). The hope for mankind and certainly for the very planet itself rests on how we raise our children. But where do we start, or even more important, where does the problem lie, so that we know what to do? All parents want a better life for their children, a better life than they have had. But even the most intelligent, well-intentioned parents seem unable to prevent the cycle from repeating itself.

In a recent book by Reich, Children of the Future, there is a 1950 quote that "During the past century our parents and grandparents have repeatedly tried to penetrate the wall of social evil with all kinds of social theories, political programs, reforms, resolutions, revolutions. They have failed miserably every time; not one attempt at improvement of the human lot has succeeded" (1:5). The question is: Why have our efforts not resulted in a steady improvement for each succeeding generation. Why does the incidence of neurosis, psychosis, and suicide continue at the same rate? And why do wars, atrocities, and human misery continue as they always have?

The answer to the riddle of the human dilemma lies in how we raise our children. It certainly will not come with newer and better technological advances. The promises held out by mechanical technologies have not been fulfilled. Many are little more than decorations for the trap to help divert us from our unhappy state, and others in the hands of armored man may yet be used to destroy us all.

However, on a more optimistic note, there is some evidence that we are groping toward better childrearing practices. Reich's insights are slowly being rediscovered in piecemeal fashion by the scientific community. By and large, their understanding remains a mechanistic one, explained by behavioral, learning, and interactional theories on the one hand, and by the brain, the EEG patterns, and endorphins on the other, but at least they are validating Reich's perceptions within their own frameworks. The evolution of the human race will ultimately require the adoption of Reich's functional and energetic concepts, and that is many generations away. But at least today there is more of an appreciation of just how critical childrearing practices are, especially in the earliest days of life.

Only a very short time ago, one could read in pediatric textbooks that the newborn cannot fixate on a visual target or track a moving object. It's now known, of course, that the newborn has behavior that is much more organized than was believed, that he is not the passive, blank slate that reacts to stimulation and learns behaviorally. He has preformed organizations and is actually stimulus-seeking. The concept of learning primarily through drive-reduction, that is, that the organism strives to reduce the level of stimulation, has largely been revised. It has been found that those infants whose mothers respond to cries early in infancy cry less in their later infancy. This runs contrary to the theory of drive-reduction in behavioral modification, that the more a behavior is rewarded, the more it continues, for the infants actually showed a decrease in crying, a decrease in the responded-to behavior. A study by Moss and Robson revealed that infants initiate fifty percent or more of the interactions with their caretakers (2). Also, another study revealed that Infants demonstrate an expectancy for interaction with their caretakers which includes an engagement in rhythmic cycling of attention and non-attention (3). If the caretakers violate expectancies or reciprocities (by not moving their faces, for example), infants alter their interactive rhythms, and they eventually turn off. So we can see from this how necessary it is for a mother to be in contact with her baby in those very earliest days of life, to be attuned to him, just so that he does not turn off.

I think the most remarkable study that I came upon was by Condon and Sanders (4), using microkinesic movie techniques. These movies are taken and then slowed down and viewed frame by frame and coordinated with the sound. The study cited revealed that, as early as the first postnatal day, newborns move in precise synchrony with the articulated structures of adult speech.

Other studies have shown that the infant is, at birth, responsive to sound frequencies in the range of human speech (5). During an interaction between a mother and baby, as the mother talks, the baby responds. There is an actual "dance," or relationship, that goes on between mother and child in precise synchrony at the earliest days of life. We also have learned from these filming techniques that when talking with someone, we tend to fall or try to fall into a pattern of synchrony with the other party's pattern of talking.

The human visual apparatus has been shown to be relatively advanced at birth, as compared to other human sense modalities or to those of other mammals (6). The idea that the newborn cannot see is simply not true. We also know that the sense of smell is present at least by the age of six days. So, what we're coming to see is a newborn that is complete, with all his senses, sensitivities, fine tuning, and capacity to resonate with the mother and the world.

As to prenatal influences, the energetic pulsation between mother and embryo is vitally important; in fact, Reich thought that a great deal of what is now considered to be genetic or hereditary is probably based upon the prenatal energetic systems of mother and child. But leaving that aside for now, let's turn our attention to the events of postnatal life.

The problem is that because we are armored, we have lost our ability to appreciate just how exquisitely sensitive the newborn is. We ourselves know, as adults, how strongly we can be affected by an insult, a reproach or even a glance, despite having developed an ego and some fairly effective coping mechanisms. It's really just impossible to know how profoundly an infant is affected by the traumas imposed upon him in the earliest days of life. Each shock the infant experiences causes him to contract; this damages the energy system's ability to pulsate. We lose our ability to sense, and we lose our ability to relate through our energy field (that is how we relate with each other, that is how we make contact) and we lose them through early damage to the bioenergy system.

Each contraction lays down the groundwork for permanent armor. And this constitutes what Reich called "the somatic core of the neurosis." As the armor is laid down, it becomes an integral part of us. We damage the newborns' energy system; they lose contact with themselves and the ability to energetically contact others. The literature is now replete with studies confirming what Reich told us so long ago: that the earliest infant-mother contact is critical to development, and that the armoring process begins right from birth. For example, Reich said that schizophrenia was laid down in the first days of life. It comes down to the basic functions of expansion, contraction, and contact. The mother most free of anxiety who is herself expanded and in contact will best allow her infant to expand, energetically each augmenting the other.

Another truly remarkable study by Klaus and Associates of mothers with their first babies demonstrated just how critical the early contact was for later development (7). The study was done as follows: There was a control group of mothers and infants who underwent the usual hospital routine, that is, the baby was briefly seen after birth, then separated from the mother. There was brief contact at six to eight hours for identification, and then mother and child were separated, except for five times a day for 20-30 minutes for bottle-feeding.

The experimental, extended-contact group, by contrast, were with their babies for one hour in the first three hours after birth, and five hours each afternoon for three days. That was the only variable: A total of only 16 additional hours of contact. But it resulted in statistically significant differences between the two groups. At one month, on interview, the extra-contact group showed more concern about their infants than the control group; they showed more physical proximity to their children during physical examination; they fondled the infants more; and they held them in the en face position more during the observed feedings. There were continued differences up to one and two years later. At two years, they asked more questions of the doctor and gave fewer commands to their children. Now think about that . . . they gave fewer commands to their children. This means that children may well have been more autonomous and more self-regulating simply as a result of having had only 16 additional hours of initial contact with mother from birth.

Another study revealed that rooming-in mothers who kept their infants with them were able to abstract more from the infants' cries than those who did not have their children in the room (8). They were more in tune with the infant, they could understand what the wanted by the sound of the cry, whether he was hungry or tired or whatever. And, of course, we know now that it is a reciprocal matter. Not only does the baby need to be with the mother, but the mother also needs to be with the baby, in order for bonding to take place. This ongoing mutual adaptation between mother and child is a function of mutual energy excitation and contact. Klaus et al. has shown that there is a dramatic increase in child abuse in premature infants who suffered early postnatal separation (9). On the level of animal studies, we learn that environmental stimulation can enhance postnatal myelinization and influence dendritic connections in the cerebral cortex (10). The brain and the nervous system mature better with stimulation. Scientists account for this in the only framework they know, with mechanical explanations. But with Reich's energetic concepts, we have a functional understanding, i.e., growth and development occur best in an atmosphere of stimulation, in an atmosphere that promotes expansion.

The usual childbirth process remains for the most part traumatic worldwide, almost as it always has. There have been some advances, such as rooming-in, and in perinatal care, and some other forward trends. But overall, children are subjected to the same treatment as they were 20 or 30 years ago. And this traumatic reception that they receive certainly must contribute to the initial contraction and loss of contact.

If we examine what is routinely inflicted on infants and children, it's little wonder why they are so crippled. At the time of birth, the mother is often sedated, which affects the baby as well. Born groggy and out of contact, frequently traumatically, sometimes with the use of forceps, he's exposed to bright lights, loud noises, oftentimes rough handling, and then separated from the mother. Stinging drops are instilled in his eyes, and he's taken away to a sterile nursery where he's wrapped tightly, laid on his back, and again exposed to bright lights. I saw this myself with my own daughter. The caretakers were out of contact and they didn't realize what they were subjecting the child to.

I remember, I think it was on the second day, when I walked into the room. There was Mom with Becky and, by her bedside, a picture of Becky. Someone had come into the nursery and flashed a camera into Becky's eyes, without my permission. Now what kind of a thing is that to do to a child? Flash a blinding light into her eyes!

The child is routinely brought to the mother and fed on a schedule that's convenient for the hospital staff, but not for the baby or the baby's functional rhythms. Blood is obtained for a laboratory test by sticking his heel. His screams of distress go unnoticed and unheard by the smiling nursing personnel; and even sometimes by the contactless parents themselves who amazingly seem much more interested in which grandfather he looks like than in his obvious misery and distress. And this is not an exaggeration. I've seen it many times over, and I'm sure you have also. It always amazes me how doctors, and nurses, and parents can be so blind and deaf to the murder of life right in front of their very eyes.

But there is progress, and we are seeing some changes. Steckler, some 20 years ago, published his findings on the effects of drugs given to the mother prior to delivery (11). Up to that time it was routine so that any of us who are over 20 were probably delivered to narcotized mothers. It was Steckler who determined that the baby's visual alertness was adversely affected for days after birth. The sucking and feeding reflexes were depressed as well (12). Medication in these early crucial days produces a postnatal depressive effect and interferes with spontaneous REM sleep; the effect on the newborn's behavior can extend beyond the first week of life. Sedation, a very routine procedure then, is still much practiced now.

Current literature in the relatively new field of neonatology speaks of an important concept, the postnatal adaptation syndrome, which is a very encouraging sign. The pediatricians who specialize in this field are now focusing on this adaptation syndrome of the immediate postnatal period and how t affects the infant.

Ideally, the mother should give birth without medication if at all possible, and with active intervention by the physician only when necessary for the well-being of the child or the mother. It should not be at the service of speeding up a slow delivery for someone's convenience. The mother should also have a trained worker available, who is at least familiar with the principles of orgonomic therapy and treatment. Such a worker can help her regulate her breathing and relax spastic muscles and, most importantly, keep her eyes in contact. With the buildup of pain, if the mother can keep her eyes in contact, she will be able to maintain control. If she goes out of contact, with mounting pain, she becomes like a psychotic for the moment, and a chaotic situation may result.

Low lights with little noise and no shocking temperature changes should be the rule. The umbilical cord should not be cut until well after it stops pulsating, and the baby should be placed on the mother's abdomen. If eye drops must be instilled, they should be non-irritating. There's good reason for the procedure since children were blinded by gonococcal infection in the past. But there's no reason to put silver nitrate or other burning solutions in the eyes. There are other preparations that will accomplish the same purpose without burning.

The mother and baby should remain together for as long as they feel comfortable, with the baby nursing on demand and both of them resting as they feel the need. Nursing personnel should be primarily for support and encouragement and to relieve the mother of chores, and not to tell her what is best for her and baby. Breast-feeding, of course, should be supported, and anxiety allayed if difficulty arises, with encouragement to the mother to continue her efforts to nurse.

The baby should never be wrapped tightly, as he needs motoric muscular discharge for release of tension. When you go into a nursery, there they are, all lined up like soldiers in their bassinets. And the nursing personnel will tell you that "it's good for baby." This is a sign of the emotional plague, which tells you what is "good" and "right" and justifies it. It's clearly an early limitation on the expression of life and its energy.

Circumcision is also something to be avoided. Despite the many studies showing there are no medical indications for routine circumcisions, they continue to be performed as always. The American Academy of Pediatrics came out many years ago against routine circumcision, and yet they continue. The question I would like to pose is "How many circumcisions would there be, if the obstetricians were not paid for the procedure?" I think they would suddenly find it not quite so necessary. Of course, the other factors involved are the fear and hatred of genitality. But, if we could reduce circumcisions by eliminating the compensation that is given, that would help. This is exactly what happened in England when the National Health Service stopped paying for circumcisions. They were significantly reduced.

A baby needs only the most gentle of handling: no rough and tumble turning; careful lifting and laying down. Baths should be at about body temperature, and he should not be cooled too quickly. The object is to keep both the mother and infant in a state of energetic mutual contact. These simple measures are so obvious that, if we had not lost contact with our core, we would be doing all of these things instinctively.

Only those with good contact should tend to the mother and child, and these may well not be the mother's mother or grandmother. In her anxiety and uncertainty, the new mother often turns to her mother or grandmother, blind to how damaged they are, and asks them to help with the baby. These are often the least equipped to give advice on how to raise a child. But they turn to these people because they're uncertain, and this is how the process cycles, generation after generation.

Those who do care for the baby should be carefully selected, particularly the pediatrician and the babysitters. Pediatricians are too much concerned with infections, the baby's weight and height, and when he should walk. They are walking textbooks of statistics and average ranges. They are in authority positions, and they give opinions on childrearing based upon their own character structure and what they've been taught. However, in medical school one is not taught anything about what is natural. One is only taught pathology; they don't know what natural is. Pediatricians are forever giving advice about what to do, but they are not necessarily in the best position to give it. I have never heard a pediatrician say that he did not know the answer to any question that was asked of him. Of course, the doctors get pulled into this kind of relationship; they have to be authoritative, because that's what's asked of them and expected of them.

In some matters of advice about what to do for the baby, it would be better to ask an uneducated, contactful mother, maybe one who has bright eyes and a sense of humor and has raised a couple of happy children, and possibly has lived out in the country. It is often better to trust nature rather than authority.

At home the mother should receive support, encouragement, and assistance, as much as possible, and be freed from household chores. The infant needs to be held and not left to cry unheeded. One study found that putting a baby on one's shoulder is the most effective method of reducing the crying, because it is a "potent elicitor of visual alertness" (13). The myth that excessive crying is "good for a baby's lungs" is an invention of the emotional plague. It is in the same league as the rationalization, "Well, we have to toughen him up for this world that he's going to live in." Is that why we should neglect him, let him cry? Is that why we should let the harsh, neurotic world come down on him? We do not want to adapt the baby to a neurotic culture; we want to keep him as free from armoring as possible. We don't want to armor him like all the rest of us. To the extent that armoring is laid down, the ability for self-regulation is lost.

Reich said, "We should not strive to bring up children who have no trouble at all, but children who are free of pathogenic armoring so that no symptoms can take root and persist. It is unrealistic to hope to completely prevent armoring. However, it's enough to prevent the formation of rigid armoring in the infant and child" (1:63). Reich stresses that if the biophysical structure is not severely bent early, later emotional experiences will not take hold and become fixed. The sooner armor can be alleviated, the better the functioning will be. If residual holding can be freed up prior to puberty, the better the adult will function throughout life. We have found that a little bit of therapy on infants and children goes a long way. They're usually very pliable and easy to work with, and grateful for the work. Just a few sessions can do a great deal to relieve armor.

Once puberty is reached, the energetic push behind it can turn the armoring into cement. That's when character becomes solidified, when the armor solidifies. Clearly the answer must lie in prevention. Once the damage has been done, there's really little, save orgone therapy, that can be offered to help reverse it. The biopathic process is so deeply rooted that years of treatment are necessary to restore even partially a state of relative health. Of course, individual orgone therapy can be applied on such a limited basis that overall it cannot be considered a solution in terms of the worldwide picture.

Assuming that natural functioning is possible to elicit, what would a child be like? How would he act, think, and relate? Reich tells us again, in Children of the Future, that we cannot have a preconceived idea of what the child would be like. We do have an approximation of how he might be from Reich's concept of the genital character. The genital character most closely approaches health. But we do not know the qualities and characteristics of a truly functional human being. We do not know to what extent the character traits that are seen in infancy are the result of natural life expression, or the result of early armoring. Reich stressed that the child of the future would shape its environment according to its needs, if only the environment would leave him alone and allow him to grow up in agreement with his true nature. We really have no knowledge in our armored society of how a child could regulate his nursing, toilet training, sexual life, play, socialization, or even how often he would choose to bathe, or what kind of diet he might choose. We don't even know to what extent the functional child would be prone to infection and all the other biopathic illnesses. There are certain people who have natural immunity; we don't understand that either, but the biopathies are certainly based upon the armoring that the child's subject to and has elaborated within himself.

Self-regulation, however, does not mean that the child is allowed to grow up without structure and without limits set on behavior. But, the less armored the child, the less structure will need to be imposed. A child allowed to gratify every impulse willy-nilly, without regard for others, in the name of self-expression or to prevent inhibitions, will be inclined to impulsivity. He will seek to unconsciously find structure from the outside, which will limit his anxiety and his impulsivity. He, therefore, may well grow up seeking authority by defying it and end up bringing it down upon him. By testing authority, he brings about the control he never had in an effort to limit his unbridled behavior. Studies reveal now, and Reich again told us long ago, that inconsistency in childrearing produces the impulsive character.

Reich felt that all disciplinary measures are indications of the helplessness and ignorance that we feel. "Neurotic behavior forces authoritarian measures." Once the child is neurotic, you cannot relate to him in the same way that you would relate to a child who still has core functioning.

An incident from my daughter's school is a good example of this. My daughter, who is a very nice little girl (of course, she's mine) was teased and cruelly mistreated by her schoolmates. Ostracized, she was suffering terribly and didn't know what to do. We talked about it at length; I supported her by pointing out their meanness and cattiness and telling her that she was basically all right. I tried to show her the neurotic world clearly, so that she would not get confused by it. But it didn't work. We tried different strategies, too, as to how she might make these little girls her friends. When eventually it turned out there was nothing she could do, I said, "Well, you're going to have to punch one of them out." And that's exactly what she did. I told her that she had to wait for the appropriate moment, a legitimate, appropriate moment when she was put upon in some way that would justify her doing what she had to do: impose authority upon neurotic behavior. Shortly thereafter, she punched one of her tormentors right in the eye. She also broke her own hand. (Unfortunately, I forgot to tell her to make a very tight fist.) The other girl got a black eye, and from that time on everything was wonderful. Everybody respected her; she became popular and well liked in the class. Even the girl she hit became her friend. Prior to this, the principal (this was a Quaker school, which she no longer attends) came in and tried to reason with these neurotically acting 10-year-olds. They sent letters home to the parents, advising them that their children's behavior was not nice, that they should love one another, and understand that it was cruel and mean to tease. But it took authoritarian action on my daughter's part to straighten out the situation.

Reich has cautioned us that, "Self-regulation has no place in and no influence upon emotions which do not come from the living core (1:47). The Orgonomic Infant Research Center was formed expressly for the purpose of observing and studying healthy children. It was Reich's plan to allow the child to develop naturally. The only way to really arrive at an understanding of natural functioning was to study natural, healthy individuals, and not diseased individuals or the disease process. As Reich notes in Children of the Future, "The hope for arriving at a sound conclusion about healthy development on the basis of biopathic functions has totally failed. There seems to be no approach to health from the study of sickness" (1:8). And, of course, this is quite a departure from the usual in the scientific and medical approach. Reich was one who said that he wanted to look at things alive under the microscope; that we can't study life by looking at stained slides and dead tissue. But even today, if one talks to a microbiologist or pathologist about examining a live preparation, they don't understand; why would you want to do that?

To allow natural functioning is precisely the problem. Most of us cannot tolerate natural functioning. As Reich points out, "It is brutal hate, based on terror, which regulates the armoring of the newborn" (1:18). Now what does this mean: hate based on terror? Life and movement and aliveness strike terror into our hearts, and we cannot stand them. It makes us anxious. So the plague in all of us (and we all have some), tends to limit the aliveness, making us feel a little bit better. What we do is stop natural behavior and rationalize that it is for someone's "own good." This is what operates in the destruction of children.

Everything that is done to children is done in the name of what is best for the child. Reich felt very strongly that the emotional plague was the single greatest force working against natural childrearing. The destructive treatment that mothers and infants receive in the hospital is a case in point. Toilet training, stopping breast-feeding, taking away the baby's bottle, interference with masturbation, even the most cruel and vicious beatings that are inflicted upon children are felt by the parent as necessary for proper childrearing. If you were to tell a parent who murdered his child, "You just killed your child," he would say, "I was trying to teach him the difference between right and wrong." Stinging eye drops at birth, separation from the mother, tight swaddling in the bassinets, circumcision, allowing the child to scream to exhaustion; these are all rationalized as being good and necessary. And this is the emotional plague: It is destructiveness on the social scene by those in authority dictating rules of living and rationalizing them as right and proper.

The problem is that as parents or educators, or as doctors and nurses, we cannot tolerate the anxiety we feel from the child's behavior so we stop it. Aliveness, movement, openness are just the things we can't stand, so to prevent the anxiety, we prevent the behavior. "Don't jump, don't run, don't shout, sit still," and, of course, "don't touch your genital." That's the biggest verbot, and the one that will be the last to be tolerated in the true sense, if ever at all. However, not everyone is plagued; there are those who are only ignorant of what is natural and functional for a child. And that is where education can help. Some can benefit from that kind of education, or at least be encouraged toward allowing their children to develop naturally. Telling a mother that she is right to pick up her crying infant could be enough to help her override what her mother or grandmother says.

A mother should be encouraged to have a natural delivery, to keep the baby with her, to breastfeed, and to avoid, if possible, a traumatic hospital situation. We are now seeing a swing toward midwifery and home births, the direction of more natural birthing. The public has become disenchanted with the sterile, routine procedures of the delivery room and is opting for a more natural environment. This is an encouraging development.

Not too long ago I was reading about a conference that was being given for obstetricians - they're really worried now since their income is being affected as a result of natural deliveries with midwives. The conference talked directly to the point: how to get the patient back into the hospital, what needs to be said to the mother to show interest in baby and mother. It was really quite a strange brochure that came through the mail. And, of course, as Reich said, "Everybody's right in some way." And the obstetrician is right: Baby is better off in the hospital for that emergency situation that might occur. And yet, baby is also better off out of the hospital. We would hope that eventually there would be some kind of coming together of these two views, so that baby has the best of both worlds.

The infant should be allowed to look out of the window and see the world, and not lie in a corner of the room, staring at the crib sides or the ceiling. The house should be childproofed when he begins to crawl, so that he does not have to be trained against touching.

Every "no" and every "don't" in this early stage produces a bioenergetic contraction, the foundation for armoring. Unless necessary for health or safety, restrictions should not be imposed. This, of course, is age-appropriate. At a certain point, it is necessary to set some limits. But one sees a nine-month-old infant crawling around reaching up to touch an ashtray, for which he gets a shrill "Don't touch that!" That's not right. The ashtray shouldn't be there.

A baby should breast-feed for as long as and the mother are comfortable with this. The cessation of breast-feeding should be gradual, rather than precipitous. The mother has to know that she must stop it slowly; not just say one day, "No more breast-feeding," or "You can't have your bottle anymore." He should be allowed to suck his thumb for as long as he likes. The same applies to taking his bottle to bed. He will eventually stop it. I'm sure by the age of 21 he will not have his bottle in bed or be sucking his thumb.

We're afraid that the parent next door is going to say, "Johnny's not toilet trained yet? My goodness, my boy was toilet trained at eight months!" Most mothers are unaware that the child doesn't even have nervous control over his sphincter until 18 months of age. Early toilet training is considered desirable and an important accomplishment. No attention should be paid to bowel and bladder functions. Do not train him, but let him train himself. Every child always does. No toilet training is necessary; none at all. No encouragement, no matter how subtle. It makes little sense to talk about self-regulation, if we're going to impose regulation from the outside and deprive the child of autonomy. The command need not be a slap, only the implication that "if you don't please me, you will lose my love." A child cannot afford to lose the love of a parent, for that is too threatening. So, he will, indeed, comply by holding back in the pelvis and adjacent musculature. To imagine what it must feel like to be trained on command, one has but to tighten the perineum, as if holding back stool, in order to simulate what the child does chronically to keep the mother's approval. This type of holding later gives rise to anal character types, like the compulsive. A healthy child will spontaneously train himself, usually by two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half. Parents need support that this "failure" to toilet train is right. They need the support to resist the intimidation from others that what they are doing is wrong, or that their child is not as "advanced" as others.

Genital play should neither be promoted nor interfered with. Peer-related genital exhibition is permissible. Allowing this natural function will not produce a child who, when older, will masturbate in public. If a child 's fortunate enough to develop a romance at about age five or six, he certainly should not be laughed at, but should be taken seriously and respected.

Sex positive means sex affirmative. This implies a natural, comfortable attitude rather than silent disapproval or "neutrality." It doesn't take an overt slap or a threat to do harm; merely distracting a child from genital play, or casting a look of disapproval conveys to the child a negative value judgment, that is not the right thing to do. Sexuality unfolds from childhood; it's not something that springs full-grown at maturity. Peer-related sexual play should be allowed, including intercourse, only if the children can accept it. Unfortunately, in our present culture, most children, like most adolescents and adults, are so armored that healthy, natural sexuality is a rarity, so they are simply not ready for full sexual expression.

As the child moves out into the world, he'll face the sickness of individuals and of the culture. He'll meet with sick children, cruel, mean, and devious, already twisted. On the social scene, he'll meet with the formalized, neurotic, and plagued structures of religion and school. In order to raise relatively healthy, functional children, it requires that the parent be able to see the neurotic world clearly for what it is and, also, to oppose what is the accepted norm. This is not easy. Parents who try to take this route will find themselves at odds with parents, physicians, administrators…everyone. The child also needs support and confirmation in his correct perceptions of the neurotic world.

We must do all we can to present the world clearly to our children, and to maintain their natural aliveness and alertness. Wilhelm Reich's discovery of the armoring process and its formation points to an exit out of the trap. These discoveries are our hope for the children of the future.

* This paper is adapted from a lecture, entitled "Raising Children, or How They Become as Sick as We Are" given at the conference, "The Work of Wilhelm Reich: Orgonomy," sponsored by the American College of Orgonomy in Arlington, Virginia, on November 11, 1984.

** Medical Orgonomist. Diplomate in Psychiatry, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Orgonomy. Assistant Profesor, Department of Mental Health Sciences, Hahnemann University Hospital of Philadelphia Medical. Medical Director, Hahnemann Mental Health Services Division, Philadelphia Prison System.


1. Reich, W.: Children of the Future. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1983.

2. Moss, H. A., and Robson, K.: "The Role of Protest Behavior in the Development of Mother-Infant Attachment." Paper presented at a meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, 1968.

3. Brazelton, T. B.: "Anticipatory Guidance," Pediatric Clinics of North America, 22(3):533-544. 1975.

4. Condon, W., and Sander, L.: "Neonate Movement is Synchronized with Adult Speech: International Participation and Language Acquisition," Science, 183:99-101, 1974.

5. Eisenberg, R. B.: "Auditory Behavior in the Human Neonate," International Audiology, 8:34-45, 1969.

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7. Klaus, M. H., et al.: "Maternal Attachment: Importance of the First Postpartum Days," New England Journal of Medicine, 286:460-463, 1972.

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