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Psychology Journals 1 to 6

Psychology Journals 1 to 6

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Published by: Jayne Deeney on May 04, 2011
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Historical and cultural perspectives on childhood

Views on child development have changed dramatically over the decades, during medieval times it was believed that children were no different to adults and were looked upon as miniature adults. Throughout the 16th centaury children were seen to be born evil and it was the parent’s role to use harsh and cruel discipline to change this. During the 17th centaury a philosopher known today as John Locke said that children were born as blank slates and their experiences in life and the environment in which they live would have an influence on their development through life. Atkinson, Atkinson, and Hilgard (1981) From the beginning of the 20th centaury child development theories were established these theories today are known as Psychoanalytic, Behaviouristic, Cognitive and Social learning. The Psychoanalytic theory suggests that early child development is dependant on the relationships that are formed in early life and what influence they may have on the individual. The Behaviouristic theory is influenced by the environment around us and a child’s behaviour can be changed by rewarding good behaviour and using a punishment to stop bad behaviour. Cognitive constructivism theory states that children’s behaviour is influenced by how they are thinking at that time. Social learning theory is when a child’s behaviour is influenced by the actions of people around them and what they witness on a regular basis. (Birch, 1997) Irish culture has changed over time as a result of media influence, religious beliefs being questioned, and economic changes. Today education plays a major role in Irish culture as without a good level of education it is hard to get work, in the past Irish people left school early to get work as families struggled financially so it was everyone’s responsibility to contribute towards the house keeping. Religion in Ireland was very influential and people tended to look to the church for guidance in life. Today the Catholic Church isn’t as powerful as it would have been in the past and people don’t tend to turn to their religious beliefs for guidance, As the Catholic church no longer controls the running of schools and childcare in Ireland, Following investigations carried out and the direction of the Kennedy report the Catholic Church lost its power. In the 1980s the Health Board gained full control of the health and welfare of the Irish. Following the closure of the industrial schools and homes for pregnant women as investigations carried out highlighted the abuse, including mental, physical, sexual and emotional that was inflicted on the children and how they were

forced to live in filthy unhygienic living conditions. It was still evident in Ireland that there needed to be a service that catered for the needs of young mothers and their babies; this eventually resulted in the opening of the unit I currently work in. In the past teenage pregnancy was seen as a mortal sin regardless of the circumstances. These girls were sent away to homes which are known today as the Magdalene homes. As soon as the girls gave birth to their babies their babies were taken from them some were adopted out to foreign families and in some cases the babies were adopted out to families living in the area. These girls had no say as to what happened to their babies. Today some of these mothers are still searching for their children. In our service we promote the importance of the family unit; we support the girls in caring for their new born babies, whilst remembering that they are still teenagers and the adjustment to parenthood is very hard and a huge emotional upheaval in their life. In our service we get referrals from time to time for clients from different countries and we will always try to accommodate their cultural ways and beliefs but this at times can cause problems and conflict as to how the rear their children. As some of our clients will have come from a culture where it is still acceptable to discipline children by smacking. So we try to teach the girls that there are other ways to deal with behaviours, which brings us back to John Lockes theory by rewarding good behaviour will eventually change bad behaviour.Atkinson et al.(1981)

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Hilgard..C. L.Referencing Atkinson. 1981 Introduction to Psychology. R.R... . (1970) The Kennedy Report. Atkinson. Department of Health.. Kennedy. E. E. New York. R.

People are products and creators of their own environments. which continues to develop. The Exosystem is the formal and informal agencies we have contact with such as social welfare for child benefit payments or children’s allowance. Joining or leaving social clubs.Ecological systems theory Bronfenbrenner is based on five environment systems. Microsystems. The Microsystems is the interaction we have with close peers such as family friends and neighbours. forming new friendships. The Meseosystem would be people we know from school or in the case of adults people they have contact with in work. Her ecological system is affected by . 2007.p25) The way people act and react to situations is dependant on where in the system they are coming from. Microsystems and Chronosystem. (Berk. The size of an individual Microsystems changes evertime they change roles in relationships like getting married or divorced. The Chronosystem is time throughout and individual’s life. Meseosystems. As a result the ecological system theory means an individual is not determined by environment factors or internal characters. and logical characteristics. However these changes can come from within us. The way in which this occurs is affected by the persons age. and if unemployed then where you receive job benefit. This is where the environment influences the way we think and live and how we react to different situations. therefore both people and their surroundings form a system of mutually dependant effects. Exosystems. If there is no support from family in a crisis then you would look for support from other agencies such as the Social work department. (Berk 2007) Bronfenbrenner says that ecological system is an active system. Significant changes in child development occur when a child moves through the school setting from primary to secondary school. behaviour. The values and norm we are use to. or when we move to different surroundings such as moving house or changing jobs. Currently I am working with a fifteen year old who has recently given birth to her baby. This is also the Chronosystem where life changes are forced upon us from external environments. The Macrosystem is the culture we live in. as we are able to alter and construct several of own settings and understandings. their environment prospects. as this will effect their development through life In the Social care setting each case is very different and is influenced as to where they are situated within the ecological system.

due to these circumstances she has little or no contact with her siblings. Her microsystem consist of her schooling which she has had to give up to care for her baby Within the Exeosystem she has contact with many formal and informal agencies as she is in care she has contact on a daily basis with Social care workers and Social workers on a weekly basis. She attends teenage parenting courses outside the unit. Her mother has had no contact with her since giving her up at the age of two. As alcohol addiction and criminal activity would have been seen as a norm in her everyday life. Her father also has very strong links to underworld activity and would be very out spoken about his contacts. When we are doing up her care plan which will decide the future of her and her baby staying together I think we have to take in to account the ecological system theory and how we can best meet her needs. She has contact with the social welfare department to claim child benefit. . And at times when she has ran away she has gone on serious drinking binges and I feel she is going to find giving up alcohol the hardest task to over come as it played such a major part in her life growing up. Her Meseosystem consists of both parents and twelve siblings whom all have different fathers to her. She currently has only contact with her father who is a recovering alcoholic.different factors for instance. The Macrsystem is influenced by the culture she was brought up in.

(2000) Child Development.Referencing Berk. 5th edition. Massachusetts . L. Allyn and Bacon.

Erickson states that this is one of the most common struggles that people endure in life. Erickson believed that each stage of development is focused on over coming conflict and success. They get moved around so much that they lose who they are and where they belong. (Birch. where there is a conflict between feelings of identity and where they fit in in society. He also did a lot of research around the understanding of the personality. I feel they find it very hard to trust the families they are placed with as they have never experienced security. and as far as all the children were concerned them all shared the same father. which he developed from his own childhood experience. 1997) Erickson’s main well known theory was the identity crisis. as they come into care at an early stage and are moved from different foster families as these placements break down due to behaviour management. and his theories suggest that each stage of development is a learning experience and is formed over the whole life span and not in a limited time as Freud stated. One of the children was making his conformation and he was asked to bring his birth certificate into school. and failure in dealing with conflicts can have an impact on overall functioning. This can cause them to get involved in dabbling in illegal substances which can give them a false feeling of being removed from reality which allows them to ignore what’s going on in the real world.Erik Erikson Erik Erickson was a well known German psychologist whose theories were strongly influenced by Sigmund Freud. It also causes people to struggle when it comes to forming relationships and may cause insecurities and issues around trusting peers. He believes that everyday challenges and struggles help us to learn. This information had huge implications for this boy he .(Bee.1992) Although Freud’s theories were focused on the psychosexual aspect of development. The father passed away about three years before they came into care. which causes them to act out when boundaries are put in placed. One particular case I worked with a whole family who came into our care including the mother. Erikson used Freud’s theories to help broaden his own. when he read his birth certificate he realized that his fathers name wasn’t the same name that he knew. which causes a huge impact on development.(Birch. Many children who go through the health care system suffer from identity crisis. Erickson’s findings and studies helped broaden the psychoanalytic theory. fathers day and the date he died they all went to visit the grave and then they would all go out on an outing afterwards and for dinner to mark the particular occasion. 1997) Identity crisis is more common in teenagers. and on the fathers birthday.

This placement eventually broke down as he continued to absconded and would be gone for days sleeping rough on the streets. he than began to fight with his siblings and assaulted his younger brother and broke his arm. Biblioghraphy . And when we spoke to him to try and help diffuse the situation he would tell us that he believed he no longer fitted in with his family and believed they where like strangers to him. Within a few weeks he withdrew himself from our services and refused to go to school. when he was present in the unit he would assault staff and would have to be restrained. He started to get involved with anti social behaviour and coming home drunk. Last year he was murdered by a gang he had got into trouble with.refuse d to speak to his mother or any other family member. He then had to be moved to a high support unit as his behaviour was getting out of control. And to this day I wonder if he had never seen his birth cert would things be different and would he still be alive with his family.

USA . H.Birch. Palgarve. 6th edition. England Bee. (1992) The Developing child. 2nd edition. (1997) Development Psychology. A. Harper Collins.

. this develops at a rapid rate and by six month they are crawling around exploring their surroundings. As newborn they have to be carried so they can get around as their muscles aren’t strong enough so they are all wobbly. such as premature birth or ’difficult’ temperament. Murkoff. And usually around 12months to 18 months begin to walk this is normally occurs in girls first as boys tend to be more laid back and slower to walk. Babies depend on their mothers from the first day they are born as their main food source they begin by only being able to drink milk they then move on to solids usually at 6mths and by one year will be feeding themselves. I feel we need to encourage children to feel secure and safe in their surroundings to allow them be confident. A baby doesn’t have instant social skills and can only respond by crying sucking and grasping so it is essential that the parent or caregiver responds to the babies need as this makes the baby feel comforted and secure. I believe this is mainly on the mother’s part as my son didn’t appear to be able to distinguish between my husband and me as long as he was being given a bottle. The ’resilient’ child will start life with a particular advantage. Horowitz (1987. A baby moves from being totally dependant on their Mother to being able to move around and explore for themselves. Eisenberg and Hathaway (2004) Bonding usually happens between mother and baby from the minute they are born. Having formed a secure attachment generally promotes resilience in an infant and although theorists say that resilience is something we are born with. 1990) sees the ’vulnerable’ child as starting life with a particular a particular handicap. Horowitz proposes that a child’s inborn vulnerability or resilience interacts with the . such as a sunny disposition.Infancy and promoting resilience Infancy ranges between newborn and two years this is the most rapid stage of development. (Murkoff et al. 2004)This promotes the bonding phase at around 7 months the infant forms attachment with the mother or a main care giver.

it is only the vulnerable child in poor environment that experiences extreme disadvantage. So we have to teach them on the dangers of how stressful situations can impact on their babies. . as some of our clients would have come from very violent backgrounds and lashing out would be very normal to them. We also do a lot of work with the girls around dealing with stress in an appropriate manner and how to do distressing techniques to prevent them from taking their issues out on their babies. p. We encourage the girls to attend teenage parenting groups with other teenage mums so they can bounce ideas of each other and give each other support the group is facilitated by highly experienced staff who will go through the stepping stones of child development. (Birch. as they would have either come from disadvantaged areas or other residential units. the least favourable consequences would occur for resilient infants brought up highly facilitative environments.3) As I am working in a mother and baby unit that was specifically set up to try and give teenagers a choice as to weather they wanted to keep their babies. This encourages the babies to feel secure which allows the baby and mother to form a good attachment. A highly facilitative environment is one where the child has loving and sensitive parents and is provided with rich and stimulating experiences. Horowitz suggests that a resilient child may do quiet well in a poor environment.’facilitativeness’ of the environment. It might be supposed that the most favourable consequences would occur for resilient infants brought up in highly facilitative environments. and without proper guidance and support would not be able to come to terms with the stress of becoming a young mother. with other combinations falling somewhere in between. 1997. From the beginning as in breastfeeding to moving their babies on to solids. the also encourage the girls to bond with their babies by showing them different techniques on how to stimulate and play with their babies. Similarly. However. a vulnerable child might do quiet well in a highly facilitative environment. the least favourable for the vulnerable infants in unsatisfactory environments. According to Horowitz’s model.

Eisenberg.. (2004) 2nd edition. 2nd edition. Hathaway... ..(1997). H. New York: Palgarve. London: Simon & Schuster. Development Psychology. Murkoff. A.& A. S.Referencing Birch.

These studies were carried out by placing a mother..) There have been many studies done on children under the age of one to establish the types of attachment that are formed. infant and stranger in a room. The failure to form an attachment to one or a few primary persons in the early years has been related to an inability to develop close personal relationships in adulthood (Atkinson.Attachment and Resilience Attachment is where an infant will seek closeness and a security bond from a main caregiver which usually would be the mother but not necessarily it could be the Father or another person who plays the main role in providing love and security to an infant. when the mother then leaves the room and the . When an attachment is formed it allows the infant to explore surroundings securely. Young children are much more willing to investigate strange surroundings when mother is nearby. 1997 p75.

. 1992) It is believed that resilient children are more likely to have formed a secure attachment early on in life with a parent or main caregiver. Infants who are in a loving environment. (Bee. John Bowlby believed that the attachment bond which develops between an infant and its mother forms the basis of all interpersonal relationships in later years. Although not all children are born with this ability as there are abnormalities that are caused before birth that may affect this coping skill such as prenatal trauma or premature birth. p27) Resilience is a coping method that we are born with that enables us to deal with stressful situations. They can also form negative relationships but will have the ability to control themselves in these situations. Whilst the mother is absent the infant who doesn’t appear to be distressed and ignores interaction with the mother when she returns this is known as Insecure (anxious / avoidant) When the mother returned the infants who immediately sought to be comforted and held for awhile were categorized as having a secure attachment.observation begins as to how the infant reacts. 1997) The main theorists of attachment known today are John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth. They also have the ability to form positive relationships with peers. The observation showed that most of the infants became distressed when the mother left but it was the reaction displayed when mother returns which allowed to distinguish what type of attachment was formed. (Birch 1997. (Atkinson. (Bee. and who are also given constant reassurance and support will go on in life to form positive relationships. The infants who even if held didn’t react to mothers comforting continued to cry and look to be put down were categorized as having an insecure(ambivalent) attachment. On conclusion of these investigations it was confirmed that infants form attachment by the age of one but the type of attachment depends on the response a mother gives to different situations. 1992) Children who are born that don’t show signs of reliance in difficult stressful situations . They are able to deal with stressful situations in an appropriate manner.

find it hard to form positive relationships with peers.New york: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. 2nd edition. Bee. E.& Hilgard. As I work in a mother and baby residential unit I feel it is so important to try and promote the importance of positive bonding between mother and baby. . (Bee. 1992) The connection between Attachment theory and Resilience theory supports the significance of positive interaction from a caregiver from very early childhood. H. As the girls who are in our care are very young and in some cases have no contact with their own birthing mothers.(1997). A.(1992). helps to promote positive adaptation throughout life. London: Palgarve. They will also find it very hard to adapt to new situations and experiences. this can also affect their attachment with their main caregiver. Development Psychology. Bibliography Birch. 6th edition. then they may find it difficult to display affection and love with their babies.The Developing child. I think its really important to do individual work around bonding and effects that positive parenting can have. USA: Harper Collins Atkinson R. As I feel that they are at disadvantage because if they haven’t experienced in life the effects of living in a loving caring environment can have.(1981) Introduction to Psychology.



‘I walk. As they move on in years this becomes more subjective with feelings of desire. for instance children learn to express how they are feeling towards situations more.Self-awareness.When children are self-aware they become very independent and like to do tasks for themselves and refuse any help given. distress and anger. sadness. Psychologists say that self-awareness doesn’t occur in an infant until they are about two years of age. Empathy is another stage of selfawareness children will hit out and think it’s funny if someone pretends to cry but when they have learned empathy they will try and comfort the person in pain. The DVD showed us how children become self-aware. This is also the terrible twos stage. we observed parents putting a red mark on their children’s forehead and placing them in front of a mirror if the touched their forehead instead of the mirror then they had become self-aware. Bee (1992) Self-concept is where a child defines themselves as to what tasks they can do for an infant this would be by saying. I run. we started by watching a DVD on different families and how they interact with their children. self-concept and self-esteem. Children also become embarrassed about things like going to the toilet if they are still in nappies then they will hide when they need to go to the toilet. I can swim. Another way to distinguish if a child has become self-aware is by showing them a picture of themselves and see if they say their name . During this time children don’t like to share their toys and everything becomes ’mine’. . self-concept and self-esteem Recently in class we covered Self-awareness.

even though they may be quiet valid or natural experiences. They come to believe that the abuse they have received was due to their own fault and as a social care practitioner this opinion of themselves is so hard to change. Children who have high self-esteem see themselves as being able to achieve a task or goal. It is how we see and evaluate ourselves as people. they have a very low self regard. we aim to help build up their self-esteem and self-concept of themselves by using constant praise and encouragement of any of their achievements. Low self-esteem is very common in children who are abused when they are constantly told they are nothing and verbally abused they will start to see themselves as nothing and this leads to low self-esteem. also how we present ourselves and our use of body language in dealing with situations can either have a positive or negative effect so we need to always have a check on ourselves before we jump in to deal with a situation. they generally have a positive view of themselves and are confident in their appearance and way of life. The unworthy experiences are then excluded from the self-concept. We feel it is so important to constantly do life skill work to try and build up their self image. A child with low self-esteem sees themselves as unable to achieve something and in some cases they see themselves as worthless. and Hilgard suggest that because the child’s behaviour is continuously being evaluated by parents and others (sometimes positively and sometimes negatively). 400) Self-esteem is an element of self-concept. Atkinson. as they were belittled and constantly put down by their parents and because others hold them in such low regard so they themselves believe they are worth nothing. And the more we do this then hopefully they will eventually start to feel better about themselves. Self-awareness in my line of work is so important as any negative feelings we have will transfer on to the clients we are working with. p. They are generally high achievers academically as they see themselves as being able to succeed. Birch (1997) Children who come into care as a result of abuse or neglect generally have very low self-esteem and self worth. Atkinson et al. Low selfesteem is very evident in people who suffer from psychological disorders such as depression where someone constantly feels sad and in a dark mood. . (1992.Atkinson. What is important for self-esteem is how one regards themselves. the child soon learns to discriminate between thoughts and actions that are considered worthy and those that are not.

R.L. New York: Palgarve Bee. A.Referencing Birch. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanavich . Atkinson. (1992) The developing child. E. and Hilgard. (1981) Introduction to Psychology. (1997) Development Psychology.R.C. R. H. USA: Harper Collins Atkinson.

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