1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background Information

Attachment is the affection bond formed to a specific person. It is the lasting connection found between a child and its caregiver within the first few years of life. Attachment affects a child’s developing process, and his or her ability to develop and maintain the lasting image of their caregivers to operate in their environment, make friends and share with their age mates relationships (Bigner 2009).  According to Maccoby 1993, children who enjoy strong attachment relationships with their caregivers, use this relationship to explore and learn more about their environment. Parents are role models for their children whom they strive to emulate.

In Joe’s family, attachment between the children and parents is minimal.  This is due to the parents’ behavior and action towards each other and towards their children. For instance, Dion, Joe’s mother openly admits that she cannot open up to her son. The concept of object relations dictates that an infant’s first object is often its mother. The clause dictates an infant’s relationship and dependency on its mother. Dion’s attitude not to open up to her son may result in a disrupted relationship between her and her son and eventually affect her relationship with her son.

2.0 Literature Review

Parent-child interactions lead to the development of a child’s social skills. Children from a democratic family are often very different from those from dictatorship homes. Those from democratic families are often outspoken, cooperative and are willing to share. Those from authoritative families, however, behave in a fearful manner, while some are rebellious, both at home and in school, and often bully their peers.

According to Wardle (2001), culture also affects a child’s social skills..Children brought up in violent environments are often fearful and isolated while in the classroom. When exposed to domestic violence and criminology, they develop a sense of insecurity. The sense of insecurity hinders the development of social skills. Max attributes his lack of concentration in schoolwork and isolation to the environment where he lives. Poverty, criminology and drug abuse - all cause his behavior (Kuczynski 2003). He finds poverty both at home and the community in which he lives. He stays in a very damp and smelly house. There is violence both at home and in the community. His isolation behavior is due to the domestic violence experienced at home. The environmental factors that surround him cause his withdrawal attachment to his family, friends and schoolwork.

Learning and self-control problems, especially during the pre-school years, usually relates to available quality of parenting. Peterson Seligman argues that in early childhood years, it is necessary for children to acquire good care, nutrition and society support in order to have positive development of skills.

Children with good relationships and healthy internal adaptive resources get a better beginning in life and show resilience when faced with adversity, as long as the relationships and their internal adaptive resources continue to grow. Resilience comes up when an individual prepares adversely for social, economic, political and environmental changes. A resilient person should identify a problem he/she is going through, explain the cause of the problem, have the capacity to deal with it adequately and act positively seeking solutions to get through the problem (Kuczynski 2003).

Resilience is an important factor in aiding an individual to deal with adverse situations. It helps one accept the current situation and strategize ways to deal with it. It is also important as it adds one’s knowledge on various life’s issues and knowledge on how to deal with them, should they reoccur. Therefore, it is an important tool for growing children to obtain as they mature. 

Domestic abuse is a form of violence and intimidating behavior that can cause both emotional and physical damage. It is the behavior used by partners to take control over the other. It is obvious that domestic violence has existed since time immemorial. Millions of families in the world face domestic violence from Europe to Asia to Latin America and Africa. Domestic violence has adverse and negative effects on children and on parenting capacity (Bigner 2009).

Graham-Bermann, (1994) argues that children from violent homes exhibit clinical levels of anxiety, and without treatment they face the risk of drug abuse, dropping out of school and have difficulties in their own relationships. Young children who cannot express themselves verbally often tend to show isolation behaviors, concentration problems and eating disorders. Domestic violence may also reduce the level of attachment between the parent and the child, thus leading to the child often developing a degree of fear towards the abusive parent.

Parental capacity reduces with violent parents tending to neglect their children. Child neglect occurs when a child’s caregiver does not provide basic human needs necessary for a child to grow into a healthy adult. This can be done through lack of proper verbal communication skills, lack of a safe and secure environment to help them explore both physically and socially, lack of meeting their children’s needs at various stages of their development and not showing positive feelings towards them both verbally and non verbally (Bigner 2009).

3.0 Research Methodology

The paper aims to assess the processes of a child’s development. Assessment requires that they check every aspect of a child’s developmental process according to their age and stage of development. ‘Every Child Matters’ proposed Common Assessment Framework as crucial in helping children achieve its five main priories. The aims and objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To help caretakers in identifying the needs of a child before they become critical.
  2. To provide a framework for discussing these needs.
  3. To investigate whether practitioners have a common structure for recording and facilitating information.

4.0 Results and Findings

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Neglected children often isolate themselves from their peers, have low or poor concentration in class resulting in poor academic achievements, and have poor physical growth and well-being. In Joe’s family, domestic abuse is evident, which may lead to child neglect and consequently to isolation, such as in Max’s case who has a concentration problem in class. Junior’s constant hunger shows he does not get enough food at home, leading to constant stealing his classmates’ lunch boxes.

The UK has put forth legislation that protects children. This comprises the criminal law and civil law. The civil law ensures that risks exposed to children are minimal. It also defines the sort of action to take, should children be at risk. and dictates family matters, such as divorce and attachment. The criminal law on the other hand, handles individuals who are responsible for offending children. Several acts are in place, such as the Children and Young People Act of 1933 (Kuczynski 2003).

In 2003, the government of UK developed a green paper known as Every Child Matters. The aim of this paper was to ensure that children and young people achieved five main virtues, such as being healthy, staying safe, making positive contributions, enjoying and achieving economic well-being. The paper advocates an approach that encourages children, parents and society to work together to achieve a shared goal. It also enables caregivers to develop cordial relationships with the children.

5.0 Discussions

Joe’s family has a role to play in both Junior and Max’s attitude and behavior.  The only time their parents talk to them is when reprimanding them for mistakes committed. Interaction in the family is nearly zero.  This partly explains Junior’s aggressive and disruptive behavior and Max’s isolation behavior. Communication is a vital tool for any relationship.

The children are vulnerable to the environment where they live. They are at risk of emulating indiscernible behavior from the society. The environment at home is that of hostility, drunkenness and self-denial. The community is a threat to them. They can, therefore, be prone to emulating criminal behavior or be involved in drug abuse. Their ability to develop resilience becomes minimal due to this factor (Kuczynski 2003).

Assessment should include the child’s health, thus ensuring the child’s physical well-being, including a nutritious diet, adequate immunization, education and proper interaction with peers at school. Adequate access to learning material and a child’s identity enables them to have a positive sense about themselves and social relationships. The assessment of parenting capacity is to ensure that the parents provide their children with basic care, guidance, security, emotional warmth and social stability (Bigner 2009).

The environmental assessment of a child’s growth is necessary to ensure the meeting of the objectives of the government and rights of a child. These include good housing, a reliable income for the family, mutual relationship between the parents, employment opportunities to help curb crime in the society, as well as various community resources to be implemented, such as water, good roads, lighting and fair allocation of public funds.

6.0 Conclusion

If policies are not in place to help improve attachment between Joe, his siblings and the parents, it could negatively affect the lives of Joe and his siblings. According to Rene Spitz, poor attachment between a child and their caregiver would lead to lack of emotional warmth and poor physical growth and development. Poor attachment relationships also cause fear in a child and lack of security. If this continues for longer periods, it can adversely affect the child’s relationships in adult life. It can also result in the child having difficulties in relating and communicating with others and developing trust in people. Attachment between a caregiver and a child is important to enhance lifelong sense of security and to have lasting relationships (Bigner 2009).

Domestic violence can also have adverse long-term negative effects to a child growing up in such an environment. According to Roberts et al (1998), domestic violence can result in loss of esteem, depression, phobia and emotional detachment to both the victim partner and the child. It is also affects the bonding between the child and the parents. Children who witness domestic violence are likely to be violent in adulthood. They are also at risk of being addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Therefore, it is essential to sensitize both Dian and Alfie on the importance of bonding with their children, stop domestic violence and provide an accommodating environment for their children. Children’s performance assessment should be regular to ensure their well-being and developmental progress sustainment.

7.0 Recommendations

Both Dion and her husband should be resilient to their financial problems and their relationship.  For instance, Alfie can try quitting his drinking habits and use the resources to help clear his mortgage. Dion should be warm to her son and get to know him better, thus improving the relationship between her and her son. Both parents should try and provide a warm environment for their children both at home and school. For instance, they should ensure that the children are in the correct mode of uniform while going to school and that they are sleeping comfortably. They should also introduce an open communication strategy in their home (Kuczynski 2003).

The community should adapt structures that confirm that children, irrespective of age, background or gender, enjoy their rights without any form of discrimination. Governments, both in local countries and internationally, have developed strategies that ensure no violation of a child’s rights. The Convention on the Rights of a Child, for example, has set policies on the legal, civil, economic and social, health and cultural rights of children. A universal law binds member nations and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of a Child, and inspects its compliance. Governments of nations that have violated the convention must report before the committee where they periodically check children rights’ progress in their country.

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