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(p. 313) Stealing and Telling Lies 

(p. 313) Stealing and Telling Lies
Chapter:
(p. 313) Stealing and Telling Lies
Author(s):

Donald W. Winnicott

DOI:
10.1093/med:psych/9780190271350.003.0060
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date: 20 April 2018

In this essay, Winnicott states that little children quite regularly take pennies out of their mothers’ handbags. The mother allows it, and, gradually, the child just grows out of this. The mother feels this is healthy, part of the child’s relation to her, and so to people in general. In a good home no one calls the child who does this a ‘thief’. However, a growing child who continues to steal and hide his theft is ill. In this way he is incapable of enjoying the things stolen. From that child’s point of view, something is missing in his world: a mother who accepts her small child stealing from her, and recognizes it as an expression of love.

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