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Using attachment theory in assisting parents and infants engaged in stressful interactions - Term Paper Example

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Tony is a healthy nine-month-old male child, the product of an uneventful pregnancy followed by an uncomplicated full-term vaginal delivery. Ellen and Roger, Tony's parents, are both overweight, but have otherwise no significant health issues…
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Using attachment theory in assisting parents and infants engaged in stressful interactions
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Download file to see previous pages Tony is a healthy nine-month-old male child, the product of an uneventful pregnancy followed by an uncomplicated full-term vaginal delivery. Ellen and Roger, Tony's parents, are both overweight, but have otherwise no significant health issues.They are in their early thirties, and have been involved in a relationship continuously for the past sixteen years. Tony was actively planned and eagerly welcomed by Ellen and Roger, as well as extended family. (*Names have been changed for privacy.) When Tony was six months old, Ellen and Roger decided to train Tony to sleep through the night independently according to the method outlined by Ferber in “Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems” (Ferber, 2006).This method involves allowing the child to cry himself to sleep; As such, it is frequently referred to colloquially as the “cry-it-out method” or “CIO.” In literature, it is called “graduated extinction” (Dewar, 2008).Ellen and Roger agreed that this was the most appropriate decision for their family based primarily on their desire to ensure both their own sleep and private time to engage in leisure activities, jointly and separately. Both committed to complete the first three weeks of sleep training, and to re-evaluate the program if it was not having the desired effect on Tony. The Ferber Method has received a great deal of criticism from parents and scholars, and while it is one of the best known sleep training regimens it is also one of the most controversial for several reasons (Dewar, 2008). Ferber acknowledges in his book that this process does not teach children how to sleep independently, it merely deprives them of access to their parents as sources of comfort (Ferber, 2006). Ellen and Roger successfully employed Ferber's techniques over a two week period, during which Tony would initially cry himself to sleep. When he awoke during the night a parent would stand near the door of Tony's bedroom, outside of his visual range, and attempt to ascertain his physical state of being. In the event of specific concerns relevant to physical health or comfort, those concerns were addressed quickly by the attendant parent, and without fanfare. There was minimal parent-infant interaction during these addresses. Diaper changes accounted for the overwhelming majority of these concerns. If there was no specific physical concern to address, Tony was allowed to continue crying in his crib. Though Tony's cries were extremely distressing for both Ellen and Roger to endure, the two of them persisted in their efforts to teach Tony to sleep on his own. Over the first two week period of sleep training, Tony began crying less, fell asleep more quickly, and stayed asleep for longer periods of time. By the end of the first two weeks Tony was sleeping from 19:00 local time through 0:800. Caregivers who sleep train their children believe that they are teaching the children to self-soothe and encouraging independent behavior. In reality, infants who are left to cry alone are at high risk for developing ambivalent relationships with their caregivers. Tony internalized the lesson that after the lights have been turned off, his needs will not be met, and as a result his behavior, particularly in the evenings as bedtime approaches, Tony's behavior is that of a child who is ambivalently attached to his primary caregivers. Tony's behavior has become more subdued in general; He spends less time in both active alert and crying phases. Tony hardly seems to notice when he is separated from his parents, but he does actively prefer them to strangers. Ellen, Tony's mother, truly believes that sleep training was an appropriate choice, and defends her decision vociferously. She points to the ease with which Tony sleeps and his cooperation in the evenings as proof that she and her husband made the correct decision. Ellen feels that this process has been beneficial not only to Tony but to her, and that while it was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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