Young Children in Brief Separation is the classic five-film series produced by James and Joyce Robertson on the responses of healthy young children to separation from their mothers. The Robertsons observed in detail the behaviour of five children, ages 1 to 2, whose mothers were hospitalised for 9 to 27 days for the birth of a new baby. John, age 17 months, was placed by his family in a residential nursery where his mothering needs were not met. The non-verbal cues he offered for attention were not understood by the nine nurses who changed frequently. In an institutional setting, which imposed many stresses in addition to the separation from his mother, John became overwhelmed by despair, and when he was reunited with his mother, he rejected her.
Jane, Lucy, Thomas, and Kate were cared for in the Robertson family home by a fully available foster mother (Joyce Robertson) and in contrast to John they did not become acutely distressed. They were held in a state of ‘manageable anxiety’ and returned to their mother with pleasure and warmth. Each film is a complete study and may be used on its own. The films, as a series, complement each other by showing how the young child’s ability to cope with separation from the mother is affected by age and by the level of maturity, the parent-child relationship and the quality of substitute care. James and Joyce Robertson 1967 to 1971 www.robertsonfilms.info Background reading: Separation and the Very Young James and Joyce Robertson 1989 FAB Young Children in Brief Separation a Fresh Look James and Joyce Robertson, published in the Psychoanalytic Study of the Child volume 26 1971. (50 pages) These publications may be available to purchase from Concord. Please email for details and prices. firstname.lastname@example.org
A guide booklet accompanies the film.