Parents that are going through a marriage breakdown, divorce and separation can be stressful for all involved particularly the children/young person. They can become emotionally withdrawn and suffer a lack of confidence which can create low self esteem. Due to family upheaval, they may lose focus in their own abilities and suffer mentally. Similarly, children from single parent families may suffer from a lack of a male/female role model which can cause social stigma. Dual parents and lone parents may have to work long hours, leaving little room for direct social, emotional and intellectual support. Becoming part of a new step-family through a parent meeting a new partner can cause friction between children from each side. This could lead the child/young person to become socially and emotionally withdrawn which could increase the risk of bullying by peers.
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Having numerous siblings can have an impact on children causing additional needs to be met. Children may feel frustrated with lack of attention within the home and also may be required to assist with siblings needs which could cause social and emotional problems. Additionally, becoming a brother/sister to a new sibling for the first time can be stressful and having to adapt to not being an only child can be difficult at first and can create an emotional strain on the child.
Being part of a social care system through neglect, physical/emotional abuse and loss of parent can prove difficult for children and although this can largely be a positive experience for many, it can also lead to problems within all areas of development particularly in relation to social and emotional areas.
Having a sick parent/carer can be extremely challenging for children, their social and emotional wellbeing can be affected with having to endure possible social stigma and suffer emotionally if not supported in the correct manner. Time off from school may cause intellectual issues and additional help may be required.
Family bereavement can be extremely traumatic for children even when a child/young person has been prepared. This can create emotional strain and unexpected outbursts of emotion should be expected. Socially, children may feel different from their peers who havenâ€™t experienced bereavement. They may suffer intellectually due to missing school days and also concentration and behaviour may be affected when they are in school.
Moving house and/or area can be difficult for children as they have to adjust to a whole new social situation with changing schools and adapting to new routines. Children may become socially introverted and display high levels of emotion.
Cultural differences can affect a child/young person through English being spoken as a second language which can cause a lack of confidence at school and additional intellectual support being required.
There can be many health aspects that affect a child/young personâ€™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.
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 personâ€™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.