Divorce, marriage breakdowns and separation is an extremely stressful time for all involved but particularly the children/young person. They may begin to lack in confidence and self esteem and become emotionally withdrawn. Due to the family upheaval, the child or young person may begin to loose focus on their own abilities and suffer mentally. In the same degree children and young people from a single parent family may also suffer due to a lack of female/male role model which can cause social stigma. In some households dual parents or lone parents may find they have to work long hours, resulting in little time remaining to focus on direct social, intellectual and emotional support. Some situations cause a child to find themselves becoming part of a step family through their parent meeting a new partner, which could result in friction between children from each side. Because of this particular situation the children or young person may become emotionally and socially withdrawn which could lead to an increasing risk of bullying by peers.
Various factors have an influence on a child and young person’s development process in particular relation to their background. Development is vital and major setbacks at a young age can have a lasting impression on children and young people.
Family bereavement is a very traumatic time and experience for children or young people, even when they have been prepared for the worse. Emotional strain is created and outbursts of emotion should be expected during the bereavement period. Socially, children who have been through bereavement may feel different apposed to their peers who haven’t experienced bereavement. This may result in the child or young person suffering intellectually due to regular absences from nursery or school, their concentration levels and behaviour may also be affected.
Moving house can also have an impact on a child and cause some great difficulty as the child has to adapt to a completely new situation, with changing their original nursery/school and having to adapt to a new routine. You may find that in these situations a child/young person may become highly emotional and socially introverted.
There can be many health aspects that affect a child/young person’s development. Children become extremely resilient and are often able to manage their conditions very well; however, certain aspects of their development can prove challenging throughout periods of ill health.
Children may suffer from conditions such as asthma, which if not well controlled, can cause children to have extended periods of time off from school. This in turn leads to intellectual development being compromised as well as social development due to relationships not being maintained.
Disability in children, whether it be physical or intellectual can be particularly difficult. A child that has a hearing impairment may suffer physically through loss of balance or socially through having to communicate in alternative ways such as sign language/makaton. A physical disability such as Cerebral Palsy can be physically challenging due to being restricted in taking part in certain activities. This can affect social situations due to these restrictions and can affect a child/young person emotionally questioning why they are different causing low self-esteem.
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Being diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer as a child/young person can also prove to lead to developmental issues. All areas of development can be compromised, intellectually, through missing school and being too ill to complete set work. They may suffer physically depending on the specific illness causing them to be weak and/or in too much pain and discomfort to complete physical activities. Socially they may be too ill to interact with others and/or maintain friendships. They may also become emotionally withdrawn and find it difficult to cope with their emotions.
Allergies affect many children, particularly food allergies; this in turn can lead to social problems as they may become excluded from certain situations where their allergies are not known. In contrast they may feel a certain social stigma as their allergies are highlighted, for example; when eating lunch at school, they may be required to wear a special badge which shows their allergies, causing them to feel different from their peers. They have to be more physically aware of their condition and how this can cause changes in their body and manage this accordingly.
Environmental factors can play a huge part in affecting a child/young person’s development. These can vary from cultural factors to living conditions.
Children/young people from less advantaged backgrounds who live in poverty can have their development seriously compromised. They are less likely to have educational support from parents/carers which in turn creates intellectual problems for the child/young person. This is further influenced by having a lack of learning resources available such as access to computers and books. They may become disillusioned with education from an early age which sets them on a path of social and emotional turmoil. Also, they may suffer socially by not being able to participate in certain paid activities offered through school and outside school which means they interact less in physical activities. They may also feel that they cannot compete with their peers with regards to fashion trends and owning the latest technology. They might not seem to be as physically strong as their peers; parents/carers might experience difficulty in providing healthy, regular meals which can cause problems with their physical well-being. Their emotions can seem quite immature at times and they may well become emotionally withdrawn but also prone to emotional outbursts associated with behavioural difficulties, displaying a lack of attention.
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