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Phase one: Take Sally to see grandma every couple of days for a week and stay with her and encourage her to interact with grandma. Take some of Sally’s favourite toys and things from home, things that may keep her preoccupied. Phase two: Take Sally to see grandma for every couple of days for a week and leave the room for twenty minutes at a time but stay in a room close by so she can still here your voice and feels safe thus giving her the confidence to be with grandma alone. If Sally cries let grandma try and calm her down and when she eventually does reward her with praise or treats.

Phase three: Before taking Sally to see Grandma Sally’s mother will need to explain to her that she needs to do something while she is spending time with grandma and what you expect of her when you leave the house. It may be buying her a new toy and letting her know, before you leave, that she can have her new toy if she doesn’t cry when you go. Taking Sally inside the house and getting her comfortable in the surroundings again would beneficial so that she again feels secure. Sally’s mum should say goodbye to Sally but reassure her that she will be back very soon and she will be safe with grandma. Sally’s mother should not give into her crying as “Crying has been conceived as stimulating a mother to come into closer proximity with her infant “(Gerwitz 1976, pg 143). She should leave her for an hour or so, if she cries her mother should just reassure her and then leave.

Grandma will need to wait till she stops crying again to reward her. When mother arrives back she should talk to Sally about what she did and how much fun she had. Sally “may be a little clingy although this is common after brief separations” (Sanders 1992, pg 176). Phase four: Sally’s mother will need to explain to Sally about her needing to go back to school and that she (Sally) will be spending a morning with Grandma every week. She will need to make is sound very positive and exciting. Rewarding her with something on her first day that she likes and doesn’t have at home e.g. paints maybe helpful and then she can use them for the next few times till she gets used to the relating painting and fun with Grandma. (Berry 1990, pg 38)

If Sally is not responding in the first few weeks the process may be needed to be simplified and Sally’s mother will need to persist by offering Sally more praise when she is left alone for minutes at a time and see how she responds. Sally may respond immediately to the operant conditioning process, if this is the case it would be a good time to measure the success of the program i.e. To find out if Sally is only conditioned to her grandma or if she is comfortable with other people in general. To test this Sally’s mother should start taking her to a day care once a week, as well as testing the operant conditioning technique, this will get her used to other children and adults. Using this option would be advantageous so that she has more interaction with other children and sees other children being without their mothers, and also so that Sally’s mother has more options than just grandma.

As noted by Ollendick and Francis (1988) (cited King 1993, pg 329) Operant based procedures in the treatment of phobic children is inconclusive because almost all support for use of operant procedures is based on controlled studies in which children were not referred for treatment. (cited King 1993, pg 329)

While a separation anxiety is not uncommon for one-year-old infants, should a parent become fretful if it perseveres into later years? “Answering this question depends upon the nature of the child’s response, its intensity, and persistence over time” (LaFreniere,P 1995 http://www.findarticles.com). It generally can depend on how early a parent starts to leave the child and how trusting the child is towards other adults even when their mother is around (LaFreniere,P 1995 http://www.findarticles.com). In Sally’s case her mother has left it to three years old which is later than would be usual but if a rat and a bear can be taught using the method (Plotnik 2003, pg 215-217), I would assume a child of three years old can too.

References:

Author Unknown, Date Unknown, What is Attachment Parenting http://www.findarticles.com.

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