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Parents Child Observation

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Parent Child Observation

The setting is a home environment of a friend; the environment is clean, warm and sunny. It is not set up for children however, there are no toys, the child does not have other children to play with, and there are about eight other adults present for a get together. The situation seems like it could be possibly boring to a four year old child as there are not any toys, he can not run around in the house, and is expected to sit still for a while. In terms of safety everything is fine. Since some of the adults are using equipment to detoxify, the child did have the supervision of his Mom while using the same equipment. In terms of intellectual stimulation realizing that the child might become bored the Mom brought books with, and the host also brought out a board game for the child to play with. Even with the books and board game it easy to see how a young child could become very bored and start to act up. The parenting I would expect to see in this setting would be authoritarian, being that the child is expected to behave at someone else's home. The parenting I observed in that setting was moderately more than I would expect to see in that setting. In the interactions with the child I see the parent communicating frustration with the child's non- compliance to be still, and stop misbehaving. The parent shows annoyance with the child repeatedly wanting to be underneath her. She even tells the child to go back in the kitchen while he is having a snack and he does not have to be underneath her all the time. The Mom seems quite annoyed with the child even to the point of not wanting to interact with him at all, and appears to be quite overwhelmed with the role of mothering. The mother keeps correcting him every time he misbehaves.

The misbehavior I saw on part of the child was not wanting to stay still under the dome, a device used for health; he kept creeping out and saying he was done. He argued with his mother about having to stay still. He also kept talking back to his mother throughout the day. He became quite cranky and annoyed that their was no one to play with and kept interrupting the adults because their was no one to play with.

I did see that the parent did demonstrate attitudes and behaviors that discouraged the child. She demonstrated negative expectations of the child, and unreasonably high demands. Granted the child was at someone else's home, but to expect him to stay still and behave for several hours at the age of four is a high expectation. (Heath, p. 286)

Even thought the mother seems quite annoyed two friends attempt to intervene with the parent who seems to have had enough. She appears to be at her wits end with the child. I have given the friends hypothetical names as to help the reader make sense of the paper. Lynn kept using praise and focused on the feelings of the child. When he did something right and listened she said words like "alright", "way to go". She even asked the child to give her a high five when he drank all his water. Previously he had been arguing about drinking all his water with his Mom, and had told her "NO, I don't want to". Lynn even used verbal and non-verbal language with the child that solicited his cooperation when he was being very non-compliant with the Mom. She smiled at him; she showed relaxed body language, and said his name. She paid the child a compliment when he was compliant. She even used play with the child to distract him form previous events. Lynn noticed that once she played more with the child he was more willing to comply and listen more. (Heath, p. 285-289)

If I were to make a hypothetical guess I believe the child was definitely using misbehavior to gain attention from his Mom. His mother seemed like once she was there with other adults around, she wanted time just to take a break and relax. It also appeared like he was doing his best to assert power, or gain power through misbehaving; he wanted to have some influence in what was going on at that time. There was not anything that was fun for him to do. He did seem hurt at the way his mother was reacting. You could see the hurt on his face, and he kept seeking his mother's approval, and attention. When he did not get what he wanted the behavior escalated. (Heath, p. 291)

The other friend Barbs got a very strict tone and raised her hand and told the child "That is not the way you speak to your mother. You better go talk to her the right way."

The child cried for a very long time. He then sought his mother's attention by attaching himself in an embrace wherever she went. At first she was receptive and consoled him, and then later on she became quite annoyed. He desired to be with her wherever she went.

There were several theories I saw throughout this parent child interaction. I clearly saw attachment theory or attachment in the interaction. First, he kept asking for attention, and then proceeded to misbehave. Finally he became disrespectful towards his Mom. Finally, when he was scolded by Barbs he became very tearful and could not calm himself. The child needed mother's attention, and physical touch to calm down. The mother was very warm towards her son at first. It was obvious the mother and child were attached. Furthermore, it appeared the child was able to calm down when the mother gave him comfort. An unattached child would not seek out mother's approval, nor would he be able to be consoled.

A traditional parenting style was observed. The mother is a single parent with a son. Both mother and child are of African American ethnicity, and it has been found that a traditional parenting style is more often used within minority groups. This style is high on discipline, but also high on love. It is harsher than authoritarian parenting, but still high on love.

Another theory that can be applied to this parent child interaction is theory Erick Erickson's Psychosocial Development. The child is four years old and is in preschool. This stage of development according to Erickson works on the concept of initiative versus shame and doubt. The preschooler's main objective is to seek achievement, through a sense of initiative. It is important to promote a sense of initiative by providing age appropriate tasks. As well as, to avoid making



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