When I was a stammering childthere were only three categories of 'behaviour' :normal, maladjusted and bad.
I was labelled maladjustedby a Child Guidance Clinic,though it seems I was just 'neurodivergent'.
When I was a child I was also labelled 'maladjusted'. At the time I could never work out what the term meant. Whoever I thought to ask, asking them seemed invasive and to do so was to invite being rebuffed/my question changed in front of me. Going into adulthood I remained privately confused by the label. A second problem was knowing that the label had attached itself to me, and not knowing what my mother-the person I felt cared for me most personally in life-thought of the label. I guessed that my father had dismissed it before hearing it, because he dismissed most ideas and labels out of hand. He would suggest nearly no ideas himself but criticise others given chance. Did Mother reluctantly agree with the label? And in whose stars was it more the fault in? Hers or mine? And why were adults not 'maladjusted'? Why only children? In the 1960's mental health provision/definition was scant in adults. In children 'maladjusted' was the most common term to describe the character of a child who displayed any number of behaviours that openly disrupted the obvious social order where the behaviours were not criminal. I drew the conclusion that it was term about children designed by child psychologists for social workers to use on parents of disturbed/bullied children so as to not alarm their parents whilst firmly labelling the child and making social services central to the child's fate. Some children who were bullies were also labelled 'maladjusted'. But mostly it was bullied children who attracted the label, and got the dud schooling/lack of understanding that went with it in the England of my childhood.
I was assigned to a humourless Scottish Child Psychologist whom I considered not to be very bright. Dr Lothian (whom I was too accepting to dub Dr Loathsome) was dim and dull, like a poorly-lit bus-shelter.
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