Benjamin Spock

By Rebekah Christman and Sam Stalnaker

Background and Biological Information

Benjamin Spock was born May 2, 1903 in New Haven, Connecticut. He was the first born into a strict, New England family. For his childhood education he attended private preparatory schools. From 1921 to 1925 he attended Yale, to be an English major. During his time in college he was in the 1924 Olympics on the USA rowing crew, before attending Columbia University. Spock realized he had an interest in pediatrics in 1927, and thought that pediatricians focus too much on the physical attributes of a child and Spock was interested in psychiatry as well. His reasoning for focusing on children was because they "had their whole life ahead of them."

Theory/Stages Explanation

Benjamin Spock believed that parents needed to stray from the strict authoritarian ways and get rid of the one size fits all parenting style. Instead he encouraged parents to show affection towards their children and to trust their instincts by using "common sense" parenting. Spock came up with 5 stages that children go through as they develop into an adult.

Stage 1:Period of Trust

-occurs during the early months of the baby's life

-time where confidence in parents and surrounding environment are established

-when children are physically helpless and emotionally agreeable

Stage 2: Period of Authority

-occurs during the toddler years

-toddler strives for independence

-development of self control and self reliance, and a sense of individuality

Stage 3: Period of Initiative

-"Imitation through admiration"

-Children have difficulty separating from their parents

-In the preschool years the child becomes attached

Stage 4: Period of Industry

-Child tries to fit in with peers

-School Age

Stage 5: Period of Adolescence

-Peer oriented stage in a child's development

-Parents are still needed to set appropriate limits and instill values

Real Life Example

This can be applied in real life when parents are deciding what parenting style to use. They could listen to Spock's theories on straying away from authoritarian ways and giving children more leeway and showing more affection.