7. Solidarity/Performance

(7 – 12 years )

Where the child finds a place in their culture by learning how to be a member of group and community. This is also a time of acquiring and mastering high level skills. In an adult, the disruptions from this stage can lead to a fear of competing or standing out in a group (leveling), or a need to be the star in any group in spite of the consequences for oneself or the group (competing).

Early – Leveling

Late – Competitive

General Attributes:

  • Parents/peers/teachers put child down when he/she begins to perform well
  • Child experiences a loss of worth and dignity related to performance
  • Child often is often shamed/ignored when he/she begins to shine
  • Does not want to stand out by being special
  • Very concerned with fairness, equality, and conformity
  • Identifies with group and tries to maintain status quo
  • It’s a sad dog that doesn’t wag its own tail.
  • Ideologically akin to Communism, Socialism, Collectivism
  • ‘Social Justice Warriors’
  • Everyone gets a ribbon for competing; Everyone is a winner.
  • Will often engage in shaming to level the playing field

Physical Attributes:

  • Face: focused with a searching look
  • Appears to have a soft expression in the eyes

Need to Learn:

  • To come out and feel secure in their uniqueness

General Attributes:

  • Parents/peers/teachers reward child with contact/connection when he/she performs or competes
  • Child begins to see performance as the best way of getting connection
  • Child learns it’s value is not inherent but only related to how well he/she performs/achieves
  • Ballet and soccer Moms & Dads are notorious for creating this structure or parents who demand
  • nothing less than an A+ academically
  • Very image conscious and social status driven
  • Driven to acquire status and/or symbols of status; ex. position at work, coming first in a competitive sport, letters behind name (academics), fancy cars, jewelry, big homes, lots of shoes, designer everything, make-up, physique, etc.
  • Competes with others for best position, often competes with self
  • Ideologically akin to Capitalism, Darwinism
  • Often become over-achievers in order to try and maintain connection
  • Has difficulty fitting into groups
  • Hogs the ball in soccer, or the puck in hockey, or the ball in basketball; has difficulty passing and being a “team” player
  • Obsessed with performance & being clever
  • Vindictive; Retributive; Jealous

Physical Attributes:

  • Face: focused with an expression of goal-directedness and performance
  • Appears to have a hard expression in the eyes

Need to Learn:

  • To feel that they have value irrespective of their status/achievements/performance
  • Te be OK with being an ordinary group member

Developmental Themes:

Resources developed with good-enough parenting:
Ease in movement between leadership and membership in groups

  • Engages in working in groups.
  • Concerned with being in or out, up or down (in hierarchy / position), near or distant in contact with friends & finding a balance between relations with a best friend & other friends.
  • Engaged in contact between groups – We / Them.
  • Often in groups of the same sex for a period of time.
  • Develops solidarity feelings and at the same time develops own individuality further.
  • Practices being a leader, mediator or “rank & file” member of different groups.
  • Competes with self & others.
  • Specializes – wants to be able to do something special & practices physically, psychologically & cognitively to be able to do it.
  • Seeks knowledge, education, interest & hobbies.
  • Develops a sense of responsibility concerning duties.
  • Develops an understanding of the value of money.

Healthy Solidarity/Performance – Balancing self and group: Secure in leading, Excelling, or being a member of a group

He is able to establish a positive sense of himself in a group and feel deeply a part of a group. He gains value by being able to move between doing his best and helping others to be their best, and between leading or going along with and supporting the group and others, as needed.

He can give his best and also accept when he fails or when another is better. He is comfortable doing what is needed by his group, and is able to recognize other peoples’ skills and support them if they need assistance. Physically the healthy person has a straight back, an erect posture, and flexible and fluid movements. He enjoys using and developing his physical and mental skills and will practice repeatedly to improve his abilities.

Leveling - Early Solidarity/Performance

Competitive - Late Solidarity/Performance

Attributes & Aspects from the Bodynamic Encyclopedia:

Holding patterns of the Solidarity/Performance structure

EARLY POSITION: LEVELING

Physically:

  • Armouring alternates with motoric over- flexibility.
  • Constantly changing muscular defense in the superficial muscles (chain-mail armouring).
  • Changes between fine co-ordination and loose-jointedness.
  • Slouched in the upper part of the back, from the back of the chest to the neck.
  • The shoulder blades are a little apart, with the shoulders falling a little forward.
LATE POSITION: COMPETITIVE

Physically:

  • Armouring in the form of stiff and straight posture.
  • Stable armouring.
  • Good muscular co-ordination alternates with stiffness.
  • The back is straight. The pelvis is kept in a middle position.
  • The shoulders are held in the middle position (possibly drawn backwards a little).

Expression in the eyes:

  • Focused, with a searching look.
  • Appears to have a soft expression in the eyes.

Expression in the eyes:

  • Focused, with an expression of goal-directedness and performance.
  • Seen as having a hard expression in the eyes.

Life patterns:

  • Can compete with themselves, but don’t want to stand out by being special.
  • When working in groups insists that all are equal and uses energy to insure that nobody stands out. (E.G., by saying “You are good at … The other person is good at …”)
  • May act to maintain the solidarity by not acknowledging their own competence.
  • Always tries to help the group function and perform well (and in this way may secretly be a leader).

Life patterns:

  • Insists on being capable and being best. Tries to get recognition by coming out in the world, performing, and competing with others.
  • Has difficulties in conforming to groups. To be a ordinary member of a group is unthinkable.
  • May let go of Solidarity to feel special.
  • Always tries to become the leader.

Key sentences:

  • I can’t do anything that all the others can’t do just as well.
  • There has to be a place for everyone in this group.
  • Yes, I am good at .., but you are good at …

Key Sentences:

  • I do it my way.
  • I am a self-made person.
  • I must live up to what is expected here.
  • If I am not the best, everything is lost.
  • If I am not the best, I am worth nothing.

Resources:

  • Group solidarity, ability to adapt.
  • Backs up others’ projects.
  • Good mediator.

Resources:

  • Good at performing and competing.
  • Does his best.
  • Makes a good leader.

Specifics:

  • Has experienced that when they are proud of their own performance or achievement the equality disappears, and with that, the contact.

Specifics:

  • Closes up, if they or their self-image are threatened.
  • Feel devalued if their performance is not the best.

Solidarity/Performance STRUCTURE HANDOUT Ages 7 – 12 years

THEME:  Can I perform to the best of my ability, can I support others to be their best, and can I still feel equal and be cared about and accepted by my family and my peers?

For the child in the Solidarity/Performance age period, the defining social characteristic, the core task in terms of mutual connection, is to learn to master the group situation. The challenge is to engage other peers deeply, and to develop a sense of self while having an identity as a group member. It is quite important that a child become deeply invested in a group as a group member. This will allow them to feel included by others and that they have value.

When a child does not have positive experiences at this age, then later in life they may lack the sense of being able to trust group experiences. Then, at work or in social structures they may be vulnerable to alienation and a sense of lacking core value. They may miss the experience of mutual connection with the larger community, and may not become full participants.

TO HAVE a healthy S/P child:  This is a very important time since kids are now sensing and valuing themselves more and more in relation to their peers. Parents should encourage and support the child to try many things, to explore and join groups. They should give attention and recognition to the child’s efforts more than his performance, as well as for his engagement with and support of others in the groups. Parents can help a child to recognize his fears and develop strategies to deal with them. They can remember that fears and failures often imply that a child is working near his limits and not way below.

A healthy S/P child experiences that his abilities and his performance are realistically valued and that he receives contact for victories and defeats. He can give his best and also accept when he fails or when another is better. He is comfortable doing what is needed by his group, and is able to recognize other peoples’ skills and support them if they need assistance.  

He is able to establish a positive sense of himself in a group and feel deeply a part of a group. He gains value by being able to move between doing his best and helping others to be their best, and between leading or going along with and supporting the group and others, as needed.

Physically the healthy child has a straight back, an erect posture, and flexible and fluid movements. She is becoming stronger and more coordinated in her movements. She may repeatedly practice skills that require strength and balance, like dancing, sports, skating, or skateboarding.  Her eyes have developed more depth perception and she can gauge speeds and directions better. Her boundaries now relate more to territorial space, e.g., separation from her parents.

If all this does not happen well enough, we get the EARLY and LATE positions.