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Understand the Potential Effects of Transitions on Children and Young People

Unit 201 Child and young person development Outcome 3: Understand the potential effects of transitions on children and young people 3. 1 Identify the transitions experienced by most children and young people 3. 3 Describe with examples how transitions may affect children and young people’s behaviour and development Under each heading, explain how each aspect may impact on a child’s behaviour & development, giving examples. • Puberty: Puberty is a major transition that all children at some point, will have to go through. It can be a difficult time for both sexes emotionally, socially and physically.

Behaviour will change and so will their physical appearance, which may cause them to feel insecure, especially if they are female. Peer approval will become increasingly important and may be related to physical development. Males may show more aggressive behaviour as their hormone levels increase and females may become insecure about late development or embarrassed about early development. Both sexes will be very aware of their changes and will compare their own rate of development with that of their friends. Most, reach puberty around the same time, some develop earlier and some later.

Boys who develop more quickly are often found to be more popular and independent. Girls, however, if developing earlier than their friends tend to get teased and have a more negative experience. The development of breasts can be very embarrassing for a girl, as it may bring a lot of unwanted comments and attention, not only from boys, but also from other girls who may be jealous of the attention the girl is getting, or may be teasing and gossiping. This can lower a person’s confidence and make them feel very uncomfortable.

Changing for sports in a communal area could become an issue, with other girls staring, and may make the young person stay away from sports, preferring to go sick, rather than endure the unwanted attention. Starting periods can also be embarrassing. Having to change with others when the period is present may make the young girl feel uncomfortable, especially if she is unused to wearing tampons. The facilities may not be as clean as her home, and she may prefer to stay away during that period. This could cause an adverse effect on her studies and may lead to isolation from her friends.

Often periods when they first start are very painful, and can cause emotional outbursts, such as anger, or tears. This may not be well received by friends who have not yet had to experience the trauma of puberty. Girls, who do develop quicker, often prefer the company of older girls who understand the changes. This can upset the existing friendships causing upsets and rows. Boys who do develop earlier seem to receive more attention and become more popular amongst both sexes. They may become more aggressive due to their hormonal changes, and may even pick on the smaller boys who have yet to develop.

The late developers can get teased by both sexes, for having higher voices and a much smaller frame. They can become very self conscious and withdrawn during this period, preferring to keep a low profile and not draw too much attention. • Starting school Another important factor that may influence a child’s behaviour is starting school. Some children really love school from the very first moment they walk into the classroom and are settled and at ease. Others may take weeks or even months before they become happy and settled. Each child is unique and how long it takes for them to settle into their school environment will be different.

School is a big change for children who have been used to spending their early years at home with mum or dad. They may have had some experience being separated from parents or carer when attending a pre-school or nursery but the day is not so structured and not so much is expected of them. Starting school can be a huge wrench for those children that have never been away from parents at all, and for those whose parents go back to work soon after their birth, the separation is much easier as they are used to time apart. Either way, starting school is a huge transition in a Childs life.

There are many new changes in their daily routine that they have to adapt to, such as mixing with a larger group of children, many of whom they won’t have met before. They will be expected to be more independent and do things for themselves, which can worry some children. Emotionally, not all children cope very well with the transition. I remember child K being very upset and anxious about being left in the mornings and would cling frantically to their parent to prevent them for leaving. Every morning they would have to be taken by the teacher to go and help with something so the parent could leave.

The child would usually settle down and be fine for the rest of the day until home time, when they would cry again when they saw their parent. This continued on and off for the whole of the reception year. Tiredness is another factor that causes children to seem emotionally distraught. Having to cope with full days at school, and the amount of concentration that they have to give is a lot for some children, and they tend to act up, having temper outbursts and emotional upsets. They can start arguing with their friends and refuse to do activities just because they are tired and it all seems too much.

By the end of their first year, most children are usually quite happy and confident and ready to move to their new class. • Moving class or school When a child moves up a year, they will have to cope with a new routine. Usually they will have a new teacher, which can be difficult for some children. Not all children are comfortable with having male teachers, especially in the younger years, as some male teachers are not so sympathetic and may seem a little stricter. This can be quite scary for some children, especially if they come from a one parent family where the mother is the sole provider and they may not be used to a man.

Also, more is expected of the child in this new year. If the move is from Reception to year 1, then the child will have to get used to a more structured day, where the emphasis is not so much on play, but more on lessons. They will be expected to sit and listen for longer and behave in a more responsible manner. Setting an example to the younger years. Some schools have separate infant and junior sections, others have different schools, some are still all located in the same building. If a child is moving from infants to juniors this can be quite a big transition emotionally.

If they are moving to a brand new school, they will have the anxiety of being the youngest children in the playground again and may be worried about mixing with the older children. They will also have to get used to brand new teachers, as well as surroundings and a completely new way of working. This can take some time to adjust to and while they are adjusting they may become emotionally stressed. They may also become bullied by the older children and this may make them feel isolated and lonely, and be very scared about even going to school.

Those children who stay within the same buildings for their primary years will have the security of knowing the school and the teachers there, which has a much calmer effect on the child. They also have the knowledge that they are no longer infants and may give them more confidence as they progress to the next year. The main difference will be that they no longer play in the infants playground, but the bigger one, so for a while they will be the newcomers and have to fit in with the new playground routines. • Starting Secondary School Secondary schools are places of major changes.

The primary school child will have to cope with going from being the biggest kid in the playground to being the youngest, which can be very scary and can cause a lot of anxiety, especially before attending the school. The child will also have to face a new environment, with the school being much larger than the last one, and the complications of finding different classrooms for different lessons. At primary school most children stay in one room to be taught, but in Secondary school, each new subject will be taught in a different classroom and may even be in a different building.

This can upset children who get lost and are late for lessons making them worried and insecure. Their confidence and self esteem may take ages to come back and this could affect their learning as they are worrying about external factors rather than lesson content. Also when starting secondary school, children may get to travel to school on their own. Whilst some will love the independence this brings, others may dread the insecurity of arriving alone and feel very vulnerable or threatened, especially if they are being bullied.

Meeting new children and joining a class where they may only know a couple of people from their old school can be very daunting. Some children may even start a school where none of their friends attend, so for them, they have to face the challenges of a new school alone, and if they don’t easily make friends, then they can find themselves alone at break times which leaves them prone to be picked on by older children or even their new classmates. This can lead to depression and the child wanting to skip school because they hate it or are scared to attend.

All the pressures of starting school, like getting to know lots of new teachers, having lockers to store belongings rather than a personal desk, carrying lots of books and having to organise those books so they have the right ones for the day can prove very stressful. It can also be very good for the child, as they have to learn to be independent and rely on themselves rather than a teacher to get them through the day. Homework is far greater in volume and much more is expected of the child, breaks are shorter and lessons longer as is their day.

Most children cope well after a short time, once they understand what’s expected of them and they are comfortable with the new routines. Making new friends and having old ones with you is one of the most important aspects of settling in. Puberty can often affect a young person as they start a new school. Some girls and boys may just be starting puberty as they arrive in secondary school. This can cause a lot of emotional upset as Hormones affect the body and mind. Coping with changes is difficult enough without adding puberty to the mix.

Some boys can get quite aggressive during this stage whilst some girls get very upset and depressed. This can lead to problems in the class as lots of new children will not understand what the young person is going through and may not want to make friends with them, and work often suffers at this stage as the young person finds it hard to concentrate and may be worried about what’s happening to them. Girls often suffer from low self esteem and try and hide their developing body, feeling very self conscious, while some boys become more confident and brash about their new manly transformation. Starting college This is a very big transition in a young person’s life. There are so many firsts for them, especially if they are leaving home to go to college. First time living with strangers, first time dealing with your emotions without the family support around you. College is much larger in size than schools and it can be quite frightening getting to grips with where everything is and having to be the youngest person in a college of older and mature students. The sheer amount of personal freedom that students have can be overwhelming.

With lots of free time in-between classes, students can find themselves getting caught up in the social partying and bar scene and before they realise it, failing some of their classes as the social scene gets out of hand. Students have to learn to effectively manage their responsibilities in order to survive college life. The social experience can be very daunting, meeting lots of new classmates, new roommates and new teachers can prove physically and mentally exhausting.

There will be lots of new distractions and temptations such as drugs and alcohol and sex, and the young person has to be careful to try and remain focused on the academic side as well, and find a way to balance both. Some students will not be used to looking after their own finances, and it will be their first time trying to budget their monies so they can still afford to eat after the first week. This can be stressful, especially if they run out of money, and then have the peer pressure of being expected to go out partying. For many, they will have to get a part time job to help finance their way through college.

Then they have to learn to balance life between Studying, partying and working. Not an easy task for first time students to accomplish. Those that do move away from home to continue their studies may find themselves homesick for a while. Joining clubs is certainly a good way to overcome this and help settle the young person down by giving them a new family. Some students will thrive on this new found independence, while others may find it hard and long for the structure and discipline that schools offer. 3. 2 Identify transitions that only some children and young people may experience e. g. bereavement 3. Describe with examples how transitions may affect children and young people’s behaviour and development Under each heading, explain how each aspect may impact on a child’s behaviour & development, giving examples. • Bereavement The death of a parent is one of the most painful losses a child can experience. For the majority of children, parents are the most significant people in their lives, so if one of them dies, life as the child knows it, is changed forever. Sometimes, children who lose one parent can become very anxious about the survival of the other, and they may hide their emotions from that parent not wanting to cause them worry.

This can often mislead people into believing that they are ok, when they’re not. All children cope with bereavement differently, depending on their age and their personalities and how close they were to the lost parent. Babies and toddlers may cry a lot because that is what they can feel, especially if it’s their mother who is grieving. School age children may not show their grief openly but may show display symptoms such as, becoming withdrawn, bed wetting, lack of concentration, clinging, or anti social behaviour such as bullying, being aggressive, telling lies, all of which indicate stress.

Teenagers probably grieve in much the same way as adults. Mood swings and signs of depression may occur, or aggression and violence. A lot of these signs may also be linked to puberty and not just grieving. A surviving parent has to not only cope with their own reactions but has to respond to the Childs needs too. If the parent can cope with both it greatly improves the way the child deals with the loss and the new changes. Children need three things to help them cope with the death, support, nurturing and continuity. new baby Accepting the birth of a new baby can be very difficult for some children. Feelings of jealousy and insecurity may well develop. Single children who have not had to share their parents may feel rejected and feel that they aren’t loved anymore. These feelings may be further re-enforced if the mother has had a hard birth and needs to stay in hospital to recover and it may seem that all her attentions are focused on the new baby and herself. Age does play an important part on how the older child will react.

Toddlers may find it a particularly stressful time as they have not yet built up a sense of security and by no longer being the centre of attention they can feel unloved and may play up as a way of getting more attention. Sometimes step children find the new arrival hard to cope with as their own family has split up and they have to accept a new partner in their lives, a new baby between the new families may leave the older child feeling rejected and maybe not quite part of the new family. They may become withdraw and put up barriers between themselves and their new family.

Time needs to be taken to make sure that they are given a fair share of attention to help ease their worries. • moving house Deciding to move house is a big upheaval for all the family. Whilst adults tend to focus on the practical problems, a child may focus on all the things that they will lose. This could be the loss of friends or of a safe and familiar environment. Some children may not be bothered by the move and be very excited about it, whilst others may have adverse reactions depending on how old they are when the move takes place. Young children may regress and start wetting the bed or become very clingy.

Older children may become withdrawn or act up and become aggressive. Some children seem to change their personality and may start lying or becoming unapproachable, all signs of stress. Quite often children can’t express their feelings and stress manifests itself in out of character ways. Small children under the age of five often cope the best as their sense of security depends entirely on their parents and they usually feel safe when they are around, although they may feel left out on the day of moving , when their parents attention is focussed on the move and not them.

Moving with teenagers is different again. They can understand the move but realise that it’s going to upset their lives a lot, especially if they are moving away from their area and starting a new school. It can be hard to start a new school at that age, when being accepted by people your own age is so important. They may leave behind a girlfriend or boyfriend, which can cause anxiety and depression, leading to solitude and withdrawal from everyday life. If children are subject to multiple moves, they may prefer not to form strong attachments to friends, as losing them becomes too painful.

And trying to fit in with new groups of friends becomes more difficult the older the child gets. Often children lose themselves, just trying to act like other children in order to make friends easier and be accepted. • parent divorce & separation This can be a very traumatic time for children, they tend to pick up on all the negative behaviours that parents are exhibiting. Quite often being in the middle of a family conflict is worse for the child than having to live without one of the parents present.

Children thrive on harmony and love, but when parents fight with each other, they become stressed and anxious, often displaying signs of anger and frustration which can be taken out on the children. Often children can become neglected during this period as their needs are seen as secondary to what’s going on in the parent’s life. It can be a very frightening time for a child, especially if the fighting becomes physical and one of the parents gets hurt. This often leads to resentment of the offending parent at a later stage when life is calmer. Children will often act up themselves inside and outside of the family home.

This maybe because the parents are occupied in their own conflicts they become less reliable in disciplining their children and their behaviour often becomes a role model for the child to follow. Another effect of divorce may be a lack of interest at school. They may be pre-occupied with what’s happening at home and can’t concentrate or may feel that no-one is interested in how they are doing, that it doesn’t matter if they try hard or not. Quite often when the family splits up, financial insecurities may arise, and the child finds that things they could once do socially, may be stopped due to lack of money.

This can be very depressing for a child who is socially active and feels they are being deprived of being able to join their friends. They may become angry and show signs of anti-social behaviour and become difficult to interact with when at home. It may get worse if the parents divorce results in a change of location. If the area moved to is a little less prosperous than the one previously, then depending on the age of the child, they could get caught up in drugs or gang cultures as a release for all the stress they are under and may see their new friends are a replacement family, something stable that they can rely on.

Having said all of the above, some families do go through an amicable divorce or separation, and the Childs best interests are taken into consideration. Both parents organise to see their children on a regular basis and although it may be hard to see a parent leave the family home, quite often they get more attention from each parent than they did when they lived together, as each parent is focussing on their child rather than living like strangers in the same house. • Fostered/ looked after children Foster care is care for children outside the home that substitutes for parental care.

The child may be placed with a family, relative or strangers, in a group home with many other fostered children or maybe even an institution. Foster care is a major upheaval in the life of a child. They have to adjust to a different family with different rules and behaviour, possibly a different location, different school, new friends, different cultures. All these decisions are taken by strangers, and although done in the best interests of the child, to a child that may not seem fair or what they want. Even though a child may have been neglected or abused, they still have a certain loyalty to their parents.

Since they do not have any say as to where they can go or when, they could feel helpless that they cannot fix the situation and this feeling of helplessness can lead to other feelings of isolation, depression and loneliness. Being taken away from their parents or carer can be a very stressful and emotional time for the child, younger children may not cope so well as older ones, who can possibly understand the reasons, even if they don’t agree with them. Some children may only be in foster care for a couple of days, while other children can spend years in and out of foster care.

These children can develop feelings of being unwanted, especially if they are transferred to different foster homes throughout the years. They can also have attachment issues, wanting to build a relationship with their new family, but unsure how long they will be there for and feeling rejected when moved. Sometimes the changes are for short periods, such as a single parent suffering an illness or being hospitalised, others may be for a longer duration, as in the case of parents who may be drug addicts, or alcoholics and incapable of carrying out their parental responsibilities.

Children may act up, become abusive, aggressive or show signs of anti-social behaviour towards their new carers or families. It may be a way of trying to get themselves sent back home, but in reality all that may happen is they get moved on to another family or foster home, better equipped to deal with them. This can lead to frustration and isolation. The child has no sense of belonging and may see their carers as the “bad guys” who are preventing them from being happy.

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