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Foster children and family resilience Essay

Foster children refer to minors or young people who have been removed from their custodial adults or birth parents by governmental authority. These children are placed under the care of another family either through voluntary placement by a parent of the child or by the relevant governmental authority if the birth parent has failed to provide for the child. Family resilience on the other hand, is the positive capacity of a family to cope with catastrophe and stress.

It is also a feature of resistance to future adverse events. In this sense, family resilience goes hand in hand with cumulative protective factors used to counteract risk factors. Naturally risk factors are against positive development of a child coupled with low academic achievement and behavioral or emotional problems. Examples of some of the risk factors are low socioeconomic status, poverty and parent with mental disorder, drug abuse and abusive caretaking among others. McCord, Joan.

(1993) reported that resilient family is the one which remain composed despite being exposed to misfortune or stressful events. Some of the characteristics of family resilience include among others:- • A sense of self esteem which enhances coping effectively with challenges. • Active approach toward an obstacle. • Ability to view difficulty as problems that can be overcame, endured or solved altogether. • Being able to know when enough is enough though after being considerably persistent.

Problems with generic present-day parent education programs Most of the parent education programs that are developed target only general situations rather than focusing on specific parent characteristics or situations (Elmquist, 1995; Nelson, 1995}. They try to use general approach to solve all problems which limit effectiveness of parent education program. Also, researches undertaken have given conflicting information and differing theories to approach parent education resulting to conflicting advice to parents (Powell, 1990).

The few studies that have been undertaken on family programs have not been comprehensive making it hard to generalize about which strategies are effective, for whom and for what outcome (Powell1989; Small, 1990). On the other hand, some social problems such as teen pregnancy, adolescence suicide, and drug abuse that frequently affect parents in the process of bringing up children are difficult to tackle using a generic program because they need specialized program (Medway 1989, Mullis 1999).

Changes in lifestyle and family structure add to complexity of issues involved in raising children hence making it difficult to address using generic parent education programs (Mullis, 1999; Powell, 1990). Why might a very structured family environment work with young children, but cause adolescent children to rebel? Between the ages of twelve and nineteen is a period in a teenager’s life that determines what kind of adult he or she will become. This period of adolescence is known as the “formative years” and they are vulnerable to peer pressure.

At this stage they may experience an urge to rebel against the pressures placed on them as youths. Also, they give in to peer pressure because of an overemphasis on the importance of social adjustment, lack of interest or communication on the part of the parents and teachers, and the unrealistic expectations that these entities create. (Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Reed Larson,1984) From another point of view, families are always both functional and dysfunctional. What tend to work for a certain group will somehow not always work for another.

A structured family is functional for young children but dysfunctional to adolescents (Huber, 1998; Masten 2001) Families with young children are very structured and this contributes to stable and secure context to live within. This same structure contributes to rigidity and rebellious behavior among adolescences. It’s the balance between the two that’s functional and dysfunctional that determines the success of children rearing Strength of the foster care system The foster care system help parents in finding what their talents and strengths are in their role as parents.

It also facilitate parents to use their talents and strengths more frequently to minimize stress, improve family communication and engage their children in problem solving. The system designed to assist children and adolescences whose development is negatively affected by issues such as parental neglect, abuse, emotional and behavioral problems (Benedict and White, 1991). It gives increased attention to emotionally disturbed children and adolescences and concentrates mostly on the necessity for alternative interventions to address their needs (Barbell, 1996; Brandenburg, Friedman and Silver, 1990).

The system help on ensuring that, children are well catered for in a conducive environment. The system facilitates the recruitment and training of foster parent for they are considered vital partners in ensuring children gain a sense of self-worth and self-confidence. It also cooperates nationally to review the success of the foster care program. It mostly focuses on specifically designed treatment plans that focus on fulfilling the needs of the treatment foster care child (Hawkins, 1989). Purpose of the family resilience project.

Family resilience project focuses on increasing successful behavior by using a family own expertise in addressing issues in treatment of foster care families. It allows families to view their behavior as both a dysfunctional and functional and put more emphasis on increasing functional behavior. Also it offers treatment foster care families specialized and individualized training directly geared toward bringing up children residing with them. On the other hand, another project goal includes creating more positive working relationship between treatment foster care family and biological family.

It also creates an understanding among the family members hence enhancing an appreciation for being treatment foster care family. The project provides parent education training that is practical and that could be readily applied. Conclusion Family resilient project advocate reacting to child’s behavior immediately as compared to delaying the reaction because it yield more positive results. The foster care child knows the parent are serious when they don’t allow bad behavior to pass It also advocates use of set of rules that are flexible, concentrating more on what has worked.

The project advocates the use of skills which include ability to think reflectively and being able to attempt alternative solutions for social problems.

References Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly and Reed Larson. Being Adolescent: Conflict and Growth in the Teenage Years. Basic Books, Inc. 1984. New York McCarthy, John D. and Dean R. Hoge. (1984). The dynamics of self-esteem and delinquency. American Journal of Sociology, 2. 396-410. Mullis, F. (1990) Active parenting: An evaluation of two adlerian parent education programs. The journal of individual psychology. McCord, Joan. (1993).

Problem Behaviors. Pp. 414-430 in S. Feldman and G. Elliot (Eds. ), At the Threshold: The Developing Adolescent. Cambridge, MA:Harvard University Press. Rosenberg, Morris, Carmi Schooler,, and Carrie Schoenbach. (1989). Self-esteem and adolescent problems: Modeling reciprocal effects. American Sociological Review, 6. 1004-1018. Scholte, Evert M. (1992). Identification of children at risk at the police station and the prevention of delinquency. Psychiatry: Interpersonal and Biological Processes, 4. 354-369 Powel D. R(1990). Parent education and support programs. Young children 41,47-53.


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