Case Study Example on a Child's Behavior and Development

7 pages
1903 words
Middlebury College
Type of paper: 
Case study
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Part A: Answer any 3 of the following questions:

2) Discuss how Winnicotts concept of the good enough mother can be applied in this case to help explain the childs behavior.

Winnicotts concept of the good enough mother puts into the view a mothers adaptation to what a child needs. The good enough mother starts off responding immediately to the needs of a child whereby she is devoted to ensuring that the child is comfortable and protected. The mother puts aside all her needs or rather sacrifices herself for the childs comfort. The good enough mother is viewed to exhibit an interactive regulation between her and the child. During the dialogical process, when the mother continues to adjust her activity with the infants on social engagement, she further enables him to recover from the periods that they were not disengaged gradually. Also, their interaction further synchronizes especially from the frequent initiation cues exhibited by the child. However, with time, she allows a bit of frustration to the child by not responding immediately when the child cries for help. Nonetheless, during interactive repair, the good enough mother can control a childs negative condition by re-adjusting to meeting the needs of the child immediately (Schore, J. & Schore, A., 2008).

Winnicotts concept of the good enough mother can be applied in Isaganis case concerning the type of care that Tesoro provided to him after he was born. According to the assessment. Tesoro was always available to feed or change Isagani as he cried whenever he was hungry or had wet himself. Also, when Isagani began crawling, Tesoro would always keep an eye on him to ensure that he did not keep anything harmful in his mouth. It can be perceived that the interaction between Tesoro and Isagani when he was a toddler was what made Isagani always to turn his head whenever he heard her voice.

3) Apply Eriksons model of psychosocial development to explain the child's behavior.

The psychosocial development model by Erikson includes the view that human development takes place in stages from childhood to adulthood. According to Erikson, each stage contains a psychosocial crisis whereby the crisis may have a negative or a positive consequence in the development of an individual. The stages include; the trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation, and ego integrity versus despair (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011). The model includes the development of ego as one moves from one stage to the next (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011). Isagani, being five years old implies that he is at the initiative versus guilt stage that includes purpose as its basic virtue. Before, the fathers death, it can be perceived that Isagani successfully handled the trust versus mistrust and the autonomy versus shame stages as per the analysis of Isaganis developmental history. Isagani is depicted to have had a supportive childhood whereby his parents were always on his side, and he could easily react to their presence. Isagani also depicted a sense of independence when he was two years old whereby he could brush teeth on his own and choose the foods that he preferred. At age three, he was able to fly a kite on his own by which he felt proud. According to Erikson, when children are between three and five years old, they tend to be playful whereby play allows them to practice their interpersonal skills. They develop a sense of independence and view themselves as leaders (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011). This explains why Isagani was able to handle some of his fathers chores such as taking the garbage out as a way of helping out. It can be perceived that the trauma caused by the fathers death makes it difficult for Isagani to engage in play or associate with his classmates with the view that he is being controlled. He does not want to be controlled and hence chooses not to heed to instructions when being talked to by other adults. Erikson associates this with guilt which often develops when a child feels that he or she is being controlled or rather being denied the opportunity to exercise independence (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011).

4) Apply Freuds model of psychosexual development to explain the childs behavior.

Freuds psychosexual development presents the view that psychological development in children occurs in rigid psychosexual steps (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011). They include; oral, anal, phallic, latency, and genital stages. In the case study, the assumption is that Isagani is at the phallic stage which includes children who are between three and six years. The phallic stage entails the development of the Oedipus complex whereby a child adopts the characteristics of the parent who aligns with his or her gender. It is associated with identification. A male child adopts the values and behaviors exhibited by his father whereby he develops an ego ideal (Schamess & Shilkret, 2011).

According to the case, when Isagani is asked to draw a picture of his family, he portrays his mother and sister to be small characters while his father is as big and masculine. Before his fathers death, Isagani could take up some of his roles such as taking the garbage out, and closing doors and windows in addition to always checking up on his father before he went to work and wait up for him when he came home from work. His actions imply that he had identified himself with his father. The identification possibly explains why Isaganis behavior changed after his fathers death. The death took away the individual that he mostly associated and identified with and hence resulting in aggressive behavior. According to Freud, any pressure on the stages may result in fixation, frustration, and overindulgence. As per the case study, it can be perceived that Isagani was frustrated which made him develop aggressive behaviors and solitude to cope with his grief. In other words, his superego might have been affected since his role model was no longer available.

Part B: Answer 1 of the following questions:

2) How does stress affect the brain? How might the neurobiology of stress help to explain the childs behavior?

Stress is viewed to be detrimental when it comes to human development. It is viewed to take place when demands overwhelm the current resources. The demands, in this case, may either be psychological or physical. The stress system is activated by the corticotropin-releasing hormone present in the brain. The hormone is described as a neuroactive peptide that triggers the functions of the pituitary-adrenocortical system. The hormone is released by the frontal cortex and the limbic system which is associated with the emotions that bring about stress. Examples of these emotions include anxiety, fear, and anger (Gunnar & Lorman, 2011). The hormone is also associated with the pathways in the brain that trigger the release of neurotransmitters which result in a heightened caution, decreased attention levels, in addition to emotion-associated thought processes. The cortisol hormone is viewed to damage tissues which contain its receptors with the brain tissue being among them. When cortisol stress levels are high, the receptors mediate the neural process that requires a lot of energy needed for learning. In other words, high levels of stress hormones slow down the neurological processes. Also, the change in brain chemistry which is caused by stress hormones enable the processing of information required for survival rather than information required for brain development, rest, and repair (Gunnar & Lorman, 2011). The change in brain chemistry may explain Isaganis coping mechanisms after his fathers death. According to the assessment, Isaganis coping mechanisms include; defiance, spending most of the time alone in class, not playing with his peers in school, and not abiding by the instructions provided to him by an adult even when asked politely. He also easily gets frustrated when playing with other kids, frequently reacts with physical aggression and dislikes losing. Therefore, his behavior can be attributed to high-stress levels whereby the change in brain chemistry which is caused by stress hormones enable the processing of information required for survival rather than information required for brain development, rest, and repair. Another aspect includes the senseless dreams that Isagani experiences. The view is that nerve cells in the brain release frequent electrical noise or rather cellular static due to stress and hence causing the dreams (McGowan, 2014).

Part C: Answer the following question:

1) Which theory from Units 5 and six do you find the most helpful for assessing this childs case and which theory do you find the least helpful? Please explain your answers, supplementing your arguments with scholarly material and examples from the case.

The theory that I find to be the most useful in assessing Isaganis case is the attachment theory. The proponent of the theory was John Bowlby who developed it to oppose the Freudian view on child development. According to Bowlby, the Freudian perspective focused more on the internal aspect rather than the external environment that significantly contributes in shaping human consciousness during early development (Holmes, 1995). From Bowlbys perspective, human beings are wired to create attachments as they cannot survive in their absence (Holmes, 1995). Apart from the model supporting the psychoanalytic perspective that initial experiences with the caregivers are significant in determining the type of people that we grow into, infants develop a close relation with the caregivers not due to the fact that they give them food but due to the caregivers influencing the disposition in infants to require attachment with a protector. The attachment is viewed to significantly contribute to an individuals personality in addition to having the capacity to control ones emotions. When the attachment is affected, a sense of insecurity develops whereby it becomes difficult for a child to control his or her emotions (Sroufe & Siegel, Unit 6).

According to the case study, the father spent time with his family whenever he was not working. The relationship between Isagani and his father can be viewed as strong whereby Alejandro would often take Isagani to the park. The bond also made Isagani notice how much his father worked such that he decided to take up some of the house chores such as locking the doors and the windows. The boy would also try to stay awake o wait for his father to arrive home from work and since he often slept during the wait, he would wake up early to see his father before he left for work. The loss implied that he could no longer see his father leave and come back home from work in addition to spending time together. The attachment between his father and him explain why his behavior changed after the demise. Isaganis aggressive behavior and the preference to spend time alone instead of playing with his peers illustrate a sense of insecurity.

The model that does not support the case is the psychodynamic psychotherapy treatment concerning racial and ethnic backgrounds. First, there are only a few studies associated with racial and ethnic backgrounds and hence the difficulty in determining the success of the model. Also, the current studies mostly include Whites, African-American, and Hispanics when compared to other groups in the U.S. (Watkins, 2012) Using the model may also include bias when providing medical treatment and hence not a model to include in the case analysis. From an individual perspective, it is appropriate to use a model that applies to the general child development rather than a model which is limited to a particular ethnic group in explaining behavior.




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