Table of Contents
The environment affects the personal growth and the formation of every child’s personality. Very often, this influence at the early age plays a crucial role in the human’s fate in general. Obviously, along with physical needs children have mental health ones as well, and their satisfaction is very important for their overall development. Naturally, some issues in a child's development are genetic, i.e. hereditary, which means that they are received from the biological parents. However, the child's education, especially at an early age, is heavily dependent on the adults’ habits, skills and kind treatment. Moreover, every kid has the need of constantly experiencing a positive feeling towards one and the same person, and as a rule, this individual is his/her mother. Additionally, the child needs to feel his place in the environment, as he gradually learns, comes to understand and navigates it. Early in life, that surrounding for a kid is a family. Over time, environment grows, but it is very important for a person to have the feeling of belonging to the close people who form a family. Undoubtedly, for the normal formation of an individual, a child must be in surrounded by people who perceive him as a person that has his/her own interests.
As it has been concluded by numerous researches, foster children usually suffer from the emotional and behavioral problems (Kerker & Dore, 2006). The current investigation states the major problems of the mental development of such kids and gives the understanding of how these issues should be fixed by parents and specialists.
The Issues in the Treatment of Foster Youth
A comparatively large number of works has been written on the psychological and educational problems of the child adoption process. The public often perceives the process as something special and even mysterious. Sometimes, adoption turns into a problem that adversely affects the relationship between parents and adopted children. Some curious community members are mainly interested in the question of how successful the adoption has been, and the criteria of achievement are estimated mainly from the point of view of the parents. However, such an approach may be wrong since it does not consider the opinions of kids. A great variety of researches have shown that untreated mental disorders in children in the foster families could influence not only the particular family, but also the whole society (Kerker & Dore, 2006). As a consequence, many individuals with some problems which have never been treated by the specialist could find themselves homeless, in prison, or mental hospitals in their adulthood (Kerker & Dore, 2006). Moreover, they will encounter difficulties in their future lives because these people spend the childhood living in a conflicting, cold atmosphere or subjected to a different, sometimes, contradictory, methods of upbringing in a new family.
A good family atmosphere can fulfill the child’s mental needs best of all. Close people provide a kid with not only the best possibilities for the formation of his/her personality, but also naturally introduce him/her to the ever-expanding social relationships and create preconditions for their socialization. The child learns to respond to the constantly changing social situation. With the help of a mother and other family members who demonstrate a support, children strike up new relationships and take certain roles and positions. The deep emotional connection with the important people is the basis and the source of vitality for a child. It aims at developing trust in the world and creates the conditions for an active study of the world and community. Thus, their confidence results from the strong sense of unity in the family, makes it easier to adapt to the community and contributes to the subsequent maturing and manhood.
A child from a dysfunctional family or the one who has lost his/her parents will develop much better in foster care. Fortunately, the methods of education in care institutions, especially in recent years, have gained closer to those in the family. Despite the fact that the psycho-pedagogical studies speak in favor of family of origin and of adoption, the society should reckon with the fact that children's homes and boarding schools will exist in the future because they are needed. According to the recent data, there have been 415.129 children in the foster care in the USA in September 2014 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2016). The staff of such institutions must be comprised of qualified people who love kids and are able to compensate for their parents at least partially. In every community, there are foster care facilities that support the ability to create the most favorable environment for the education of children who find themselves outside the family. The enthusiasm of the staff, their love to children, and the warmth of relationships helps the kids to develop successfully, live happily and prepare for a normal adult life.
Psychological features of children depend on many factors: heredity, education, living conditions, attitudes of others. Each kid is a unique individual, unlike the others. However, there are general patterns that are typical of children who grow up and are brought up in children's homes and boarding schools, and are deprived of parental love and care. Most importantly, it does not prevent them from suffering from mental disorders. According to the data, from 18% to 78% of children in the foster care suffer from neglect, and up to 48% have experienced physical abuse in their lives (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009). Moreover, the researchers have found that from 4% to 35% of foster children have suffered sexual abuse (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009). The parental alcohol abuse is another issue that damages mental health of youth accounting for the 30% among all foster children (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009). All the traumas of a child experienced before he/she enters foster care could form the base for the future mental disorders (Kerker & Dore, 2006). Additionally, numerous researches have stated that sixty percent of children in the foster care have health problems (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009). Dermatological and respiratory issues are the most common (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009). Moreover, many foster children experience the delay in the development, and the figure is often higher than 50% (Oswald, Heil, & Goldbeck, 2009).
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To sum up, when a child grows up in a family where he is loved and cared for, where his needs are satisfied and grown-ups speak with him, he/she forms the primary emotional attachment to an adult. When a kid has experienced any type of abuse, he/she will suffer from different mental disorders which should be treated by a specialist regardless of the fact whether he is living in the foster family or in the foster care.
Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care
Affection is the individual’s ability and the need to build and maintain strong emotional connections with other people. In the family, the child feels secure and learns to trust the world around. The kid knows how to build relations with the peers and adults listening to the advice and calmly reacting to the remarks in his address. Therefore, it is significant to provide as many foster children as possible with the family environment in order to prevent mental disorders in them.
The aim of the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (MTFC) is to support the foster children with the help of the community (Smith & Chamberlain, 2010). It has been used in the US since the 80s, and has shown promising results (Smith & Chamberlain, 2010). Following this model, such kids have the opportunity to socialize in the society using the assistance and warmth of the foster family (Smith & Chamberlain, 2010). A child is not born with social skills; they are formed in the process of communication. For him/her to become a full member of society, they must master all the social skills: to be able to use objects for their intended purpose, have abilities for the self-service and communication. It is in the family where the kid masters all of these skills unconsciously imitating parents in joint games and lessons. In orphanages, child often does not know the names of many objects and their purpose. He/she has limited horizons and little knowledge of the outside world. Later in life, a lot of these children do not understand that you cannot take someone else's belongings because all the objects in the children’s homes were common which means they can take someone else's possession without permission. As a result, in the adaptation period, the process of socialization is the most difficult process since foster children only start learning the norms and rules of behavior in the society.
In addition, life is very hard for children who have experienced domestic violence, both physical and psychological. They do not believe in the authority of adult care. Therefore, their behavior resembles victimization, which is a sacrifice. Such kids are very shy and suspicious towards those who are stronger. If they are taken into a foster family, they often demonstrate the same attitude. They can sometimes make a new parent feel at a white heat just to be punished. It gives them a sense of stability and predictability of the world. It may initially be difficult for adults to cope with such children. Their behavior is puzzling and confusing. However, it is important to stay calm and show there are other ways to express love and attention.. The most important feeling for the child is safety. Therefore, the Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care is significant for such children as they can get the support from the family and return the faith in justice.
The reaction of the child to the family who has taken on the responsibility for the kid’s upbringing is very different, and it depends on age, previous experience and his/her character. Observations show that young children get used to new life relatively quickly (Smith & Chamberlain, 2010). Sometimes, they might show negative reactions such as sleep disorders or behavioral inhibition. In addition, some children of preschool age, still remember their original family, and demonstrate concern while getting used to the new one. Sometimes, they even want to run back to the orphanage because there is something that reminds situation where they starved, were left alone or were punished and beaten. This condition also passes quickly when one shows warm and affectionate attitude towards them. All in all, one of the main human needs is to love and be loved. Actually, educators, especially mothers, truly gain enormous happiness in the child's attachment.
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The adopted child is an individual who has survived the most severe injuries. This is a kid who has been abandoned. Even if he/she lost the parents in an accident, it is a situation of abandonment to him. Any child left without parents feels as if he/she has been thrown away. These children have been left without the most important things: without love, care, the real presence of the parents who were the whole world for them. This is the drama which is unique. Nevertheless, a lot of people prefer to ignore it. However, the society should remember that this injury forever leaves a significant imprint in the psyche of the child making them vulnerable, sensitive, prone to depression, and difficulties with social adjustment and behavior. Fortunately, there is a way to help such a kid. The main thing for him/her is the presence of a stable, loving, and the secure environment.