Heredity and Environmental Factors
Ashford University: EDU 338
One environmental factor that I may encounter in my future career is Divorce and the Influence in child development. In Human development: A life-span view, by Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C. there are three major conflicts.
First: The absence of a parent obviously means that a child or children “lose a role model, a source of parental help, emotional support and supervision” (by Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C., chap.7 pg. 247). This means a great deal to both the remaining parent and children. If the missing parent had a very close relationship to the children it leaves a large emptiness and room for depression and needs some form of emotion to fill it. Also thinking along the lines of same sex, if the children left behind are males and the father leaves, there may be a bigger burden on both mother and child, and the same with the other sex especially in adolescences ( anytime in a child’s life, a loss of a parent is/can be very influential). Children may rebel and feel as though it is their fault, many issues may arise where the children close themselves up, at any age and refuse to share any emotion. This will prevent any form of proper grieving, and usually will need some form of help for the child in the process that the remaining parent may not be able to give due to the uncooperative misunderstanding child.
Second: Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C. Describe the hardships of being a single parent family. When there is more than one child in the home the parent is torn between many environmental factors, including but not limited to financial and economic hardships, and being torn between the schedules of life and the children’s schedules. Being a single mom and needing to help one child with homework that id due the next day, yet the other child has some form of extracurricular activity such as a play or possibly a sick baby that the mother cannot put down. This can all be true for a father in place of the mother. The energy this takes is enormous and very stressful, the managing of bills and schedules, possibly fear of the other parent and always protecting her/his children is a devoted parent exhausted. All this makes for an unintentional cranky parent.
The Third conflict is that of what is going on between the parents? Are the children visiting that other parent, do they want to, is there court appointed or agreeable terms? All of this takes a toll on the parents and more importantly the children, especially the older children. As the adolescent is growing older and trying to find their way in this world, discovering who they are, it makes for a very confused and emotional child during a divorce. In every situation and age, the children will need any and all help they can get. If there is any adult or friend that the child is willing to talk to it is very important for the child to be able to express their feelings in a safe environment. The hope is that the child will understand that the divorce is not their fault and that they may come to terms with both parent’s (especially the one in the home) before anything overly drastic or irreversible can happen.
In this situation, Temperament of both the children and parent is key to success. The parent in the house may have been a very high involved parent such as an authoritarian or authoritative parent, but with all the stress and being the only parent the temperament may have changed to permissive or less to uninvolved due to the stress and taking on the roles of two parents. The most important thing to remember is that the parenting along with the children’s way of thinking may have changed with the issues at hand. In this situation, the children are being left out more than usual and need more love, assurance support and guidance through this process. The parenting style will have an effect on the children’s attitudes, emotions and upbringing from now on. A family going through a divorce has an entirely new environment to deal with and will need all the support and help they can get, that includes from their teacher’s. Factors as a teacher would be to support and help guide not only the children but the parent too. This is a fine line in which the family must come to the conclusion of knowing they need and want the help. The best thing I can do as a teacher is to be there, ask questions when it is comfortable, get to know my student and family. I will guide, model, give feedback, observe, practice delicate reinforcement for both child and parent, and always be there to listen and help find resources for the family.
A hereditary factor that I have and will again come across in my career is ADD and ADHD. These are learning disabilities that in the preschool age are not yet diagnosed. This is a very touchy subject with most parents. Attention deficit disorder and/or Hyper is something that is hard to verify at a young age unless you know the signs. The point is to know your student’s both in the classroom and in the home (per parent/caregiver). Children at younger ages are hyper and very excited, it is part of being a child and wanting to learn. There are times where parent’s come to me with questions asking if the child is calmer at school, I have trouble getting them to sit still, or do homework, crafts, and activities. These are all good observations to know early on, but as I said children have been over diagnosed and children are meant to squirm, move from one activity to the next and so on. It is when the parent’s come to me and my observations continue to show that the student has not changed towards the end of the year. As a preschool teacher, we want to prepare the children to sit longer, write more, and be able to control their behavior and attention better towards the end of the year for the next grade level. There are many signs, but these signs are also signs of basic childhood growth. ADD and ADHD are not truly considered or diagnosed until the age of six. In my career, it is my job to know my student’s and parent’s, know how to talk to them, when to mention behaviors and when to listen. The most important thing to remember is the assessments and how well the student’s progress throughout the school year. Keeping the parent’s calm and aware of possibilities (only when facts point in the direction). When the student is still not capable of certain milestones, we will assess and work with the parent’s together. There is a fine line as to when and what you say to a parent about a possible disability of their child. If the parent comes to you as the teacher then the door is open. It is a bit harder and you must be gentler going to the parent yourself. You are not their doctor, but you play a very large part in this diagnosis. This is why observations, inviting parents into the classroom and knowing your student’s and family’s come into play. Working different activities into different assessments for certain students so that it may help them succeed is where you will get better results and calmer/happier parents.
Looking back at everything I have learned the most important to me is to know my students and families. Guide all that enter my classroom, have an open mind and always listen to what is said, and asked of my students. Communication and temperament with both my students and families is my goal to success, to be approachable and there for to teach and learn.
Kail, R. V. & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2015). Human development: A life-span view (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage