Early psychological and cognitive child development
The Haitian people have a very proud and rich cultural background. They have a strong sense of family. It is not uncommon to find multiple generations living in the same household. It used to be a nuclear family the two children and their biological parents JS is 4, CC is 2. His extended family both his mother and father are living with him since the death of his wife one year ago. The grand-parents provide structure for the children and take on the role of providers. In Haiti, the two main religions are Roman Catholic and Voodoo a mixture of African Animism some people practice both at the same times. There is another part of the population that identifies as protestants, Jehovah witness or other denominations. JSs family is Catholic. They go to church together and participate in many pastoral care events such as food pantries, and soup kitchens in order to give the children a sense of community.
JS’s mother had a normal pregnancy, this was her first child so she was grateful for the easy pregnancy. She was in her third semester a registered nursing (RN) program at City College. The RN program was very difficult to get into so although she was 7 months she was told by the director of the of City college that she could not take any time off. If she did not the school would not guarantee her a seat when she returned. She was working in the mother-baby unit in the Fort Green Clinic. She had to travel from Brooklyn to Manhattan every day. Seventh months through her pregnancy, J.S.s mother started to have some vaginal bleeding and she went to the hospital to be evaluated. She was admitted at that time and was placed on bed rest. She was not able to work, but she continued her pediatric clinical rotation. J.S. mother was placed on some steroid medications for one month. After stopping the medication she woke at three AM due with heavy bleeding. She was admitted to Plainview Hospital, by midday she required an emergency C-section due to hemorrhaging, placenta abruption. J.S. was seven pounds and two ounces born on March 10, 2015. He was breastfed for 18 months.
Cultural differences in interactions between adults and children also influence how a child behaves socially (the conservation, 2018). Culturally children are not allowed to eat from strangers, and it is enlightening to JSs grand-parents to have the children go from one house to the next and obtain candy from complete strangers. Food preparation is a family affair and everybody eats at the same time and share their daily activity. Meals are prepared daily and it is cultural food from scratch including rice and bean, grillot, legume( mix vegetable with meats), bouillon (vegetable soups with some roots in it) and fried plantains. Breakfast entails eggs but mostly plantains with salted fish, cornmeal, sweet potatoes, and breadfruit. At night time the family members assemble and the elders will recount fables/stories, laughter, music, and dancing is very important. It is not uncommon to find a group meeting at one anothers houses to talk about politics, education and so on. Usually, heated agreements will arise. The children eat at a different time then the adults and even if they get the food at the same times the children eat in their rooms. Haitian parents do not believe in sleepovers, it was shocking to the grand-parents when their son allowed J.S. to sleepover at a friends house. The children want to assimilate to the American culture often rejecting their parents/grand-parents culture. The children dont want to eat rice and beans every day, but pizza, burgers, and Chineses food. The most problematic issue for the family is that the children do not speak creole which is the national language. The grandparents do not speak English so, there is a disconnect that never existed before in the community where the older generation cannot communicate with the younger generation.
Haitians do have a strong sense of nationalism special holidays are observed in the Haitian household no matter where they are in the world. January 1st is Haitian independence day from France in 1804. This day is celebrated with a special dish soup Joumou (pumpkin soup) it is symbolic because before the independence day Haitian were forbidden to eat the pumpkin as it was a considered delicacy. May 18, is the birth of the Haitian flag. Rara is a time of celebration in Haiti during the week of Easter. It is where multiple bands, each one has a different costume pass from one house to the next dancing for money. The carnival is another festivity that resembles Rara but it is more organized. Those bands only play in the public parks until they reach the capital in front of the presidential house. The rest of the national holidays are associated with Catholicism and special food is made around the country.
There is a lot of superstition within the Haitian community regardless of the level of education. The older generation always associates illness with some type of evil-doing, and death is almost always supernatural. They dont believe in mental health, the child is to be taken to the community healer for folk medicine. In Haiti, there was never daycare and nursing homes were nonexistent. They believe that they have children so that they can be cared for. In their later years. The older generation, once retired from the United States move back home, because they are afraid of been placed in a nursing home. Culturally, it is viewed as abandonment. Children are constantly reminded of how long and difficult labor was, and it is a never-ending reminder. As this is their first generation of Haitian American children born to that immigrant family, the grandparents are having a harder time aculturring while their children and grandchildren are embracing the American culture. The grandparents do continue to cook cultural food. They do not eat outside of the home and still gather at nighttime for storytelling. In contrast, the son has started to accept the American culture and he takes the children to eat out, go to ball games, even allowed them to participate in sleepover once or twice. He does not encourage them to participate in storytelling. The grandparent feels that their son is not raising the children appropriately because to them the only way the children will have a future is to know their past.
According to JSs father, the pediatrician is always impressed with JSs progress. He met all his milestones despite being on month premature and having had a traumatic birth. He is now four years and four months old. The Denver II assessment tool was used to assess his level of development. In gross motor, language, fine motor adaptive and personal social skills. J.S. speak only English; he is able to carry a full conversation as per the Denver Articulation screening exam. He does have difficulties pronouncing the Th sound and when pronouncing the J which is normal for his age, otherwise his speech is clear. J.S was able to name the picture of a cat, horse, bird, dog, and the man without any problem. The fine motor exam was very easy for him. However, he was unable to balance one foot for 5 sec. but was able to balance for 3.5 seconds. When it came to the Personal-social skill he did well; however, he was unable to do the circle and the cross. He failed the heel to toe test, he was unable to stay on one foot for that long period of time. J.S. was able to throw the ball, and name the colors of the cube. He was able to brush his teeth, but not able to squeeze the toothpaste. He counted the blocks without any difficulty. He identifies the right numbers and color of the blocks when taken two blocks away. He was to compare and contrast. He was able to draw a square and the cross, but unable to draw the circle after many attempts he refused. He did put the block behind, in front and under the desk. Although his speech is not very clear at the time I was able to understand him without difficulties.
During the past six weeks, I have worked/observed JS at the playground, home controlled, and uncontrol setting. At times he can cling to grand-mother as if he is afraid of leaving her to explore the world. According to Eric Ericson, psychosocial theorist J.S.s developmental stage is initiative vs guilt ages ( 3-6 ) (Varcarolis, 2017). J.S. will take the initiative by initiating play while on the playground, and make-believe is a big component of his playing. He does need to feel guilty when appropriate for conscious development. It also appears that J.S. may still have a problem with trust vs mistrust, and this should have been resolved when he was one year old. The maladaptive situation is that J.S. does not feel secure enough to explore the environment. According to Erickson a child’s character is not completed or resolve at a specific age, but continue to grow during his lifetime (Varcarolis, 2017).
According to Piaget cognitive development stages, J.S. is in the preoperational stage between the age (2-7 years). He is unable to see the world in anothers personal point of view. For example, when he was playing with his sister C.C. he was feeling dizzy, and told C.C. to stop even though C.C. was sitting down because he said: C.C. you are dizzy you better sit down. He could not understand that C.C. was not dizzy because she was sitting down, but since he was dizzy then CC is also dizzy a universal phenomenal at that time. J.S. thinks that everyone sees the world exactly as he does since he is unable to think abstractly, and egocentric (Varcarolis, 2017).
Play is very important in childrens lives since this is the way they express themselves. J.S. plays well with others. He is a fierce protector of his young sister. C.C. do not get on this slide, this is for a big boy like me. According to Sigmund Feud psychosexual stages of development, J.S. is now in the phallic (oedipal) stage between 3-6 years of age. In this stage of development, J.S. is obsessing about objects that are big and tall. For example, if you have two glass of milk one in a short wide cup and the other is a tall skinny glass they want the tall one. Anything that is perceived as bigger or taller they want it at that age even though the tall object has the same quantity of fluid they are unable to see object permanency. When it comes to the imaginary friend Freud will concentrate on the fact that J.S. has been mischievous and blaming Charlie for it. To Freud, the id is at play and J.S. ego has not been able to keep the id at bay. Perhaps J.S. could benefit from psychoanalysis sessions that will help bring into consciousness, which is whatever that is buried in the unconsciousness (Varcarolis, 2017).
When his mother died about a year ago he started to have an imaginary friend named Charlie. The death of J.S.s mother is still a very difficult subject that I was not able to explore at length. His ability to use his imagination to perform make-believe play and also taken into a mischievous imaginary friend who gets into trouble all the time. As per Gleason, many children have imaginary friends at this age:
This displacement of negative emotion onto the imaginary companion is a form of psychological distancing-cognitively separating from the reality of the situation and representing it symbolically instead. (Gleason, 2017, p. 15)
Imaginary play will help J.S. to grow cognitively by creating a character that he constantly has to make up scenarios for. This is a sign of cognitive maturity because the imaginary companion would allow him to practice his public skills that might be advantageous later in life. (Gleason, 2017).
Family support is fundamental to child development physically, psychologically, and cognitively. They must be in an environment that allows them to play and be themselves. A family that fosters growth through a loving cultural and secure environment will enable the child to blossom through those stages. As we now understand that children go through different stages of development in order to become mature productive members of society. It is important to minimize trauma and stressors during the early development stage. Stressors occurring at these early stages will hinder the psychological and cognitive health of the child. Successful completion of each stage of development detail how the child will fare in the next stage J.S.s is fortunate to have his grandparents love and support in his life. It does not replace his biological mother, but the supports allowed him to go through this traumatic event with caring empathetic, loving people. They will continue to guide and monitor him through this difficult time. If his developmental progress begins to falter, his family will be able to address it immediately
Axline M.V. (1974). Play Therapy. New York, NY: Ran