In my observational assignment, I was observing a mother by the name Martha Sanchez and her daughter, Jessica Sanchez, who was six years old. Martha Sanchez and her daughter stay alone in an apartment in the city center. They are an average family living in a small decent house. On meeting Martha, I explained to her that whole process of observation and the frequency with which I will be observing her and her daughter Jessica. I also elaborated to her that the procedure was all part of an assignment that we were doing as part of our class work. Furthermore, I assured Martha that all information that I would collect from her would be confidential and private. No unauthorized persons would be able to access the information and that I would use a secret code for her file. In the end, I explained to her everything that she needed to know about my assignment and how it would be carried out. I gave her time to think about the whole process so that she can either agree to it or deny. She finally consented, allowing me to proceed with my observation.
The observation of the toddler and the caregiver took about twenty minutes every session. The observation was primarily to access the relationship between the mother and her daughter. The relationship between a mother and a daughter makes one of the strongest bonds between human beings. A mother is the first person that takes care of a child all through her childhood until they are old enough to do things on the own. In my observational assignment, Martha and her daughter had an active and healthy relationship. Jessica shows a lot of respect to her mum. This was evident in the instances where I noticed that every time her mother sent her on a small errand, she would quickly get to doing it. Nevertheless, Jessica respects her mother as she follows her instructions to the later.
Martha and her daughter have an excellent understanding of one another. This is evident from the how what they do when they are together. For instance, on one occasion when Martha is in the kitchen doing the dishes, Jessica helps out her mother by cleaning the surfaces. At such a young age she can do much as compared to other children who are her age I also noticed that every time Jessica did a good deed, her mother rewarded her for the good that she did. For example, after she was done cleaning the surfaces while the Martha was doing the dishes, she was given a slice of fluffy cake which she a great fan is of. She was excited when she was given the piece of cake as you could see from her facial expression. On the other hand on an instance where she did a lousy deed her mother intentionally ignored her. In a few cases, however, I noticed that Martha sanctioned her daughter when she did something wrong. Martha warned her daughter not to toy around with the cooker when she found her playing with the knob. Evidently, the cooker may be hazardous in case it is hot as it may burn Jessica. The sanctioning is therefore warranted. In this case what Martha does is in line with the social learning theory of parenting where there is an assumption that the childs behavior is bound to improve when appropriately reinforced (O'Conno, 2013). In this sense, good behavior from the child is encouraged while bad behavior is sanction and corrected. Proactive reward systems such as point system where the outstanding deed is awarded points. Others ways of dealing with misconduct from a child based on social learning theory are a timeout, withholding privileges that were previously enjoyed such as video games.
From the observation, it was evident that Martha was able to understand the needs of her daughter even when she did not speak them out. At some point, Jessica was unable to sleep well. Her sleep was always interrupted, and the show could sit up on her bed for long before getting sleepy again. Through attachment theory, this observation can be backed up. In this approach, it is believed that during the early stages of life a child gets most attached to his or her primary caregiver (Fearon & Roisman, 2017). The emotional connection usually so strings that the caregiver can detect and respond appropriately when the child seeks their attention. In this case, Martha tells me that in case she becomes sleepless it is a common thing that happens especially when she is developing a cold. In response to this, Martha gets her daughter medication for cold the next day after visiting a doctor.
During the observational period, I got a chance to assess Jessicas cognitive abilities and social-emotional development. Cognitive development is exhibited from the thought process of a child. As a child grows, their cognitive skills develop as they can interact with the world more and process information, develop and understand a language and the ability to reason. Jessica cognitive abilities are awe-inspiring. Especially in school. Going through her class work, observing how she is she solve certain situations including her class work and talking to her mum, she presents a high level of intelligence. Jessica is also able to relate what she learns with what she sees in the real world. Her cognitive ability also comes out clear from how she communicated with her mum (Belfort, 2016). Based on Piaget theory of cognitive development, Jessica can develop her cognitive abilities just from the environment which in this case is her mother and the friends and teacher that she has met while in school.
Jessicas social-emotional development is impressive. Judging from observations, Jessicas expressions, experience, and management of emotional is striking. From how she relates with her mother all her emotions are appropriate for a particular situation. For instance, her show happiness when her mother rewards her with a piece of fluffy cake after she helps her do some of the light house chores. Another situation that I observed was when Jessica and her mum go to the convenience store to do shopping, and Jessica asks for ice cream, but her mother denies her because of the cold that she had. She becomes sad but still understands why her mum denied buying her ice cream. The ability to regulate emotions is enhanced gradually from birth depending on the nature of caregiving that the child gets during early life. Jessica has a positive relationship with a trusting adult who in this case is her mother, and this is key for the development of successful social-emotional development.
Of importance in my observational assignment was the fact that Martha and her daughter Jessica are from the Hispanic culture. Hispanic culture is known for its strict and authoritarian type of parenting. This is attributed to the fact that Latino usually put a lot of value of family loyalty, obedience, and closeness of families. The value of familyism in Hispanic is therefore taken as a crucial issue. According to Pinquart & Kauser, (2017), the strictness of the Hispanic culture serves to bring both parental warmth and hostile control at the same time. Martha comes from a Hispanic background, and therefore the importance of strictness is still on her. She does condemn misbehavior immediately it is done. An incidence I observed was when Jessica overate ice cream and fluffy cake that was in the refrigerator and later on got a cold. When Martha realized that she had had too much cold food and that that was the reason for her cold she immediately raised her voice at her, warning her not to do it again. With this kind of strictness, Jessica is not bound to repeat such a mistake. Despite the strictness of Martha, it does go to the extent where child abuse is evident.
Various challenges have been linked to Hispanic culture. Due to the authoritarian parenting styles of Hispanic parents. Such setbacks that have been shown to occur are depression, anxiety, and somatization in young children. I took a keen interest to observe how Martha treated her daughter and if it was possible that she may suffer from any of those challenges. However as much as Jessica had a strict mother, she is less likely to experience that adverse effects of authoritarian parenting. Martha is a little different from other Hispanic mothers since she is lenient and understanding. She knows the right ways and means of relating to her daughter.
Jessica, being a three-year-old, already knows how to interact with her environment. From where the family stays, Jessica can make new friends of about her age from the neighborhood. Sometimes some of her friends come over into their house so that they can play together. Most of the neighbors are Hispanic in origin and therefore share the same belief with Martha and her family. Playing with other kids from the neighborhood has had a positive impact on Jessica. Her cognitive skills, for instance, have developed pretty early for a three-year-old. She was even able to join kindergarten at an earlier age that most of the children her age. The ability to socialize with other children from the neighbor has enhanced her social interactions with people making her efficiently adapt.
While making my observation on Martha and Jessica, I made a few assumptions. One of the assumption that I made was that Martha was a single mother who was living with her daughter. Since the topic of marriage is a sensitive topic and that Martha was not willing to talk about, I did not dwell so much on it. Even if Jessicas father is present, it is evident that the house lacks a father figure and this has had an impact on the growth of the child. Children who have been brought up in whole families usually tend to develop not only cognitive skills faster but also have early social-emotional development. Another assumption that I made was that Martha had a decent job. Martha was at home most of the time, even though a couple of times she would leave the house and take Jessica into daycare or to some friendly neighbors they had.She would not stay out for long and came back in about two to three hours. When I asked her what kind of job she was doing, she shied off from answering.
The observational assignment had an insight in my cultural lens in that through it; I got to understand the Hispanic culture and the similarities and difference that it has with my own culture and beliefs. Understanding different cultures make me appreciate all the culture even if I dont agree with all of them. At the end of the assignment, my observational skills had been significantly improved.
In conclusion, during the period of my observation of Martha and her three-year-old daughter, Jessica, I got to learn a lot about her family and the relationships that they have between them. During this assignment, I also got to learn about some of the Hispanic cultures. At the end of this assignment, I hope that I will have developed my observational skills. The assignment also gave me a chance to relate the theories that I learned and put them into perspective from observing a toddler who was three years old and her mother. During observation of the Hispanic toddler and her caregiver, I got to understand the cognitive abilities and social-emotional developments of Jessica. The upbringing of Jessica is significantly dependent on various factors. These factors include Hispanic culture, environment, interactions, protective factors, and challenges.
Belfort, M. B., Rifas-Shiman, S. L., Kleinman, K. P., Bellinger, D. C., Harris, M. H., Taveras, E. M., & Oken, E. (2016). Infant Breastfeeding Duration and Mid-Childhood Executive Function, Behavior, and Social-Emotional Development. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP, 37(1), 43-52.
Fearon, R. P., & Roisman, G. I. (2017). Attachment theory: progress and future directions. Current Opinion in Psychology, 15, 131-136.
O'Connor, T. G., Matias, C., Futh, A., Tantam, G., & Scott, S. (2013). Social learning theor...
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