May 1, 1953, report of Renatus Hartogs 
(Reproduced as both 8 H 223-4; 20H 89-90)


This 13 year old, well-built, well-nourished boy was remanded to Youth
House for the first time on charge of truancy from school and of being
beyond the control of his mother as far as school attendance is
concerned. This is his first contact with the law.

He is--tense, withdrawn and evasive boy who dislikes intensely talking
about himself and his feelings. He likes the give the impression that he
doesn't care about others and rather likes to keep himself so that he is
not bothered and does not have to make the effort of communicating. It
was difficult to penetrate the emotional wall behind which this boy
hides--and he provided us with sufficient clues, permitting us to see
intense anxiety, shyness, feelings of awkwardness and insecurity as the
main reasons for his withdrawal tendencies and solitary habits. Lee told
us:  'I don't want a friend and I don't like to talk to people.' He
describes himself as stubborn and according to his own saying likes to
say 'no.' Strongly resistive and negativistic features were thus
noticed--but psychotic mental content was denied and no indication of
psychotic mental changes was arrived at.

Lee is a youngster with superior mental endowment functioning presently
on the bright normal range of mental efficiency. His abstract thinking
capacity and his vocabulary are well developed. No retardation in school
subjects could be found in spite of his truancy from school. Lee limits
his interests to reading magazines and looking at the television all day
long. He dislikes to play with others or to face the learning situation
in school. On the other hand he claims that he is 'very poor' in all
school subjects and would need remedial help. The discrepancy between the
claims and his actual attainment level show the low degree of
self-evaluation and self-esteem at which this boy has arrived presently,
mainly due to feelings of general inadequacy and emotional
discouragement.

Lee is the product of a broken home--as his father died before he was
born. Two older brothers are presently in the United States Army--while
the mother supports herself and Lee as an insurance broker. This
occupation makes it impossible for her to provide adequate supervision of
Lee and to make him attend school regularly. Lee is intensely
dissatisfied with his present way of living, but feels that the only way
in which he can avoid feeling too unhappy is to deny to himself
competition with other children or expressing his needs and wants. Lee
claims that he can get very angry at his mother and occasionally has hit
her, particularly when she returns home without having bought food for
supper. On such occasions she leaves it to Lee to prepare some food with
what he can find in the kitchen. He feels that his mother rejects him and
really has never cared very much for him. He expressed the similar
feeling with regard to his brothers who live pretty much on their own
without showing any brotherly interest in him. Lee has vivid fantasy
life, turning around the topics of omnipotence and power, through which
he tries to compensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations. He
did not enjoy being together with other children and when we asked him
whether he prefers the company of boys to the one of girls--he
answered--'I dislike everybody.' His occupational goal is to join the
Army. His mother was interviewed by the Youth House social worker and is
described by her as a 'defensive, rigid, self-involved and intellectually
alert' woman who finds it exceedingly difficult to understand Lee's
personality and his withdrawing behavior. She does not understand that
Lee's withdrawal is a form of violent but silent protest against his
neglect by her--and represents his reaction to a complete absence of any
real family life. She seemed to be interested enough in the welfare of
this boy to be willing to seek guidance and help as regards her own
difficulties and her management of Lee,

Neurological examination remained essentially negative with the exception
of slightly impaired hearing in the left ear, resulting from a
mastoidectomy in 1946.  History of convulsions and accidental injuries to
the skull was denied.  Family history is negative for mental disease.

Summary for Probation Officer's Report:

This 13-year-old, well-built boy, has superior mental resources and
functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of chronic
truancy from school---which brought him into Youth House. No finding of
neurological impairment or psychotic mental changes could be made. Lee
has to be diagnosed as personality pattern disturbance with schizoid
features and passive--aggressive.  Lee has to be seen as an  emotionally,
quite disturbed youngster who suffers under the impact of really existing
emotional isolation and deprivation; lack of affection, absence of family
life and rejection by a self-involved and conflicted mother. Although Lee
denies that he is in need of any other form of help other than 'remedial'
one, we gained the definite impression that Lee can be reached through
contact with an understanding and very patient psychotherapist and if he
could be drawn at the same time into group psychotherapy. We arrive
therefore at the recommendation that he should be placed on probation
under the condition that he seek help and guidance through contact with a
child guidance clinic, where he should be treated preferably by a male
psychiatrist who could substitute, to a certain degree at least, for the
lack of father figure. At the same time his mother should be urged to
seek psychotherapeutic guidance through contact with a family agency. If
this plan does not work out favorably and Lee cannot cooperate in this
treatment plan on an out-patient basis, removal from the home and
placement could be resorted to at a later date, but it is our definite
impression that treatment on probation should be tried out before the
stricter and therefore possibly more harmful placement approach is
applied to the case of this boy. The Big Brother movement could be
undoubtedly of tremendous value in this case and Lee should be urged to
join the organized group activities of his community, such as provided by
the PAL or YMCA of his neighborhood.

8 H 223-4; 20 H 89-90

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