And Another Thing…

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Edu-ma-cational Interlude #1

A few posts back when I stated that my blogging ways would be declining due to my workload at school, John Dobbs asked me to post tidbits that I picked up in my coursework here and there that might be of interest to readers at large. And really, who can say “no” to John Dobbs? In light of that, I will occasionally drop some info on those who pass through here. The information will be broken up by course and/or topic.

Child Welfare

There are a lot more children who meet the criteria for being at-risk than any of us would like to think. What are these children at-risk of?A short list would include: being verbally, physically, or sexually abused; using drugs and engaging in criminal activity (both of these at younger and younger ages), being neglected, pregnancy, and getting lost in the system (perpetually in foster care or juvenile detention).  Most Social service networks are woefully lacking in resources to address this in a meaningful way. One of the more appalling examples of this that I know of is a county that has used up all of their resources for housing children who are removed from their homes. As a result, these kids (who have already been victimized) are being warehoused (there is really no other word for it) in juvenile detention. Shocked yet?

One of the books assigned for this course is the novel America, by E.R. Frank. If you want to see a worst-case scenario of what can happen to a kid in the system, read it. It rattled my cage.

I am preparing a presentation on community outreach efforts for at-risk children. If you want to know more, stay tuned.

Mental, Emotional, & Behavioral Disorders

Having worked with clients with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse issues for over 7 years, some of this is old-hat to me. However, the new stuff is (to me, at least) fascinating. A two-point summary: (1) We still don’t know much about disorders, and (2) it is critical to ask your doctor a lot of questions about any medication that he/she prescribes, especially if it is a psychotropic medication. It is your right and you would be astonished at the side effects of a lot of these drugs.

I am preparing a fun assignment for this class called Diagnosis: Hollywood. We have to select a character from a movie who exhibits behavior indicating a mental health diagnosis, identify the diagnosis, and make a presentation to the class justifying our diagnosis with clips from the film and criteria from volume four of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (a.k.a the DSM IV). I will give you a hint as to my character and movie: He is played by Russell Crowe, but the movie is not A Beautiful Mind. More as it develops.

Research for Social Work Practice

I have learned that I hate statistics. With a passion.

Take care and have a good week.

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3 Responses

  1. Kelly says:

    I’m betting the Russell Crowe movie is “L.A. Confidential.” What do I win if correct? He is certainly displaying some maladaptive behavior in that one!

  2. Trey says:

    Please continue to share your thoughts on this topic….

  3. The obvious abuses and neglect of children make me sick and fill me with deep sadness when I hear about them. I pray a lot for children who I hear of being in terrible situations. More often, though, and a more hopeful, although prevalent, problem is that of children who are abused and neglected in subtle ways. I saw some of that teaching preschool all of those years. In those cases, I always felt the biggest part of my job was to educate the parents. Most parents want to be good parents, but maybe they didn’t have good role models themselves.
    I started writing a book to educate parents of preschoolers about the needs young children have. One of the worse situations that I have seen over and over again, especially among Asian and Middle Eastern families, is the failure of the mother to assert authority over, especially male, children. When a child of three or four believes himself to be totally in charge of his world, he is deeply insecure, although his behavior may seem just the opposite of that. Mothers who are weak with their boys teach them to disrespect women at best and cause themselves great stress as well, and that can lead to mothers losing their patience with their children. I have stopped parties at school and reprimanded a child for screaming at his mother more than a few times. I tell the children before their parents come in that I am in charge of my classroom, and if I hear them being disrespectful to their moms, I will put them in time out. One mother in particular expressed gratitude to me for correcting her child in front of her, because she learned how to lovingly discipline him with authority. I know, because I had to learn to do that myself. I knew that I did not want to be hard on my children, but I knew also that I did not want my children to be undisciplined, so I asked an older mother from my church back in Texas to come to my house, and tell me what to do with my oldest son when he was 2. She gave me really good discipline help, and then we prayed together every Thursday. I credit Verla with giving me the skills I needed to be a good mom and also for teaching me to assert authority in a loving, respectful way with my students in Bible classes and preschool all of these years. I believe that older women must help younger women in this way. No one ever means to raise an out of control child, but positive discipline doesn’t come naturally to young mothers unless they have had good role models.
    These days it seems to me that most young mothers without support end up giving up control to their children. That results in unhappy moms, unhappy, insecure and demanding children, and chaotic home lives. It probably ends up causing havok in marriages as well. Sorry for the length of my comment…this is a subject about which I am passionate.

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