In January 2016, Allison, a 4- year old Hispanic girl with long brown hair pulled up in a braid and dressed in pink, came to the Young Child Institute with her young mother who was in search of help for Allison’s challenging behaviors.
Allison’s mother, Karlim, described her daughter as not listening and having frequent temper tantrums. She shared several situations in which Allison acted out in restaurants, at church and in front of friends during social gatherings. Karlim described Allison as crying frequently and emotional when not given her way; she was concerned about her child because this impacted her ability to get along with her peers.
Due to Karlim’s struggles with her daughter, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) was chosen as the best treatment option because it is successful in developing the parent-child bond and remediating a child’s negative behaviors in children ages 2 to 7. The therapy helps parents learn new ways to interact with their child. In addition, the therapy was conducted in Spanish because that was the family’s primary language.
The therapist worked with both Allison and her mother for 15 weeks of PCIT. The therapist educated the mother on ways to improve the parent-child interaction with Allison through praising good behaviors and ignoring defiance. The mother completed daily homework, including a five-minute therapeutic playtime with Allison to practice and implement skills learned in therapy sessions. As initial skills were mastered by the mother and child, the therapist taught Karlim to then implement calm and direct commands followed up by praise for the child’s compliance and predictable, immediate consequences when Allison was non-compliant.
Today Karlim reports Allison continues to do well. Allison listens and follows directions even when she does not want to do so. Allison is less emotional; the family feels less stress. Allison had a successful year in kindergarten and was able to attend several after school programs.