SARAHS ECOLOGICAL MODEL AT DIFFERENT AGES. Sarah’s ecological model at ages 3-12 is very basicand at these vital ages will shape her into the person she will become in heradult life. In Sarah’s Microsystem she has her Mother, her close friends atschool, her main teacher and her mothers close friend and her children. HerExosystem involves her community, other members at her school and her doctorwho she visits a couple of times a month when getting check-ups or visits foran illness. Sarah’s Macro system involves things such as politics, herreligion, and the culture that she lives in, however an unusual one is herFather.
Due to him still sending money he has some kind of relationship to herhowever very distant and is far from an influential person in Sarah’s life.When Sarah reaches age 13 her ecological model changesdramatically. She becomes more distant with her mother due to her having to geta full time job to afford the life that she wants to give to Sarah as sheworries about her being pushed out at school. This means her Mother isn’t as involved and is pushed back to theExosystem.
Her main influences in her microsystem are her group of friends fromschool and a youth club she visits and a teacher at school she feels close toand is able to communicate with. Her Macro system has changed with her Fathernot being in the ecological model at all as he is no longer in communicationwith her Mother as the small amount he used to pay has stopped. SOCIAL.
Sarah lives alone with her mother in a rented flat,however due to the absence of a father figure from such a young age this wouldhave an effect on her development due to parents being located in themicrosystem in Bronfenbrenners theory of the ecological model. (Hayes, O’toole,and Halpenny 2007.) Her Father only sends a small amount of money each month andhas a new family of his own, meaning this could add to Sarah’s insecurity thatshe will feel as she grows up as it makes her wonder why her Father doesn’twant to create a relationship with her. Also with the parents being locatedwithin the microsystem means that they are able to have a lot of impact on thechild whether they are good role models or bad for the child.
When linking thissituation to Bronfenbrenners theory (1979) it could mean the loss of someonewho is close to the child would effect her development, as she has no Fatherfigure to look up to. Despite the relationship with her Father, Sarah hasdeveloped a close relationship with her young mother. This can be linked toBowlbys theory (1951), where he thought that the first two years of life arecritical in a child’s development with attachment.
Sarah’s main attachmentfigure is her Mother who she spends a majority of her time with. Bowlby thoughtthat if an attachment figure is broken or disrupted throughout these two yearsit could have major side effects later in life such as mental health. Althoughhe said the first two years were critical, he thought that the risk of adamaged relationship could have effects until the age of 5.
Due to Sarah havinga very stable relationship with her Mother this sets her up very well for thefuture as Ainsworth (1978) says that when a child is secure with their mainattachment figure they tend to have positive thoughts towards themselves andmore aware of the respect they deserve compared to a child who doesn’t havethis bond with someone would be a lot more insecure and are more likely to havebehavioural problems in the future.At the age of 13 after moving schools and being aroundother children where she has to start to create new friendships Sarah may startto wonder and think about why both her Grandparents and Father don’t have agood relationship and never seem to contact her. This could lead to Sarahfeeling very unwanted within her life and even effect her mental health in thefuture due to the feeling as if they do not care or unwanted. Rohner (2004)conducted some research and said that when a child feels rejected by theirfather it can create anxiety and bring on neediness from other peers creatingdifficult relationships.
This could be down to the fact that other children sheis around have very stable relationships with their Fathers and can see thatthey often take a prestige power within the household, something that Sarah ismissing out on with only having her Mother around as a stable figure in herlife. CULTURAL. Its noticeable in the case study that Sarah gets a lotof time interacting with other children at a day nursery and with her mothersfriend 2 days a week. We know that this can encourage and help Sarah developwhen we link it to Bruners scaffolding theory.
(Bruner 1976) He believed thatwhen a child is learning they will do better with help from others of higherintelligence. Which in this case could be from the nursery staff, her mothersfriend and the children that are 5 and 6 that she plays with 2 times a week.This could be both positive and negative for Sarah depending on the behavioursshe is around.
If the children at the nursery are well behaved she will copythis, as the staff there will encourage this behaviour with positivereinforcement (Skinner 1938) meaning Sarah will want to keep doing this goodbehaviour as she gets rewarded, however Skinner says if the children she issurrounded by at her mothers friends home is bad, she could potentially copythis behaviour if no negative reinforcement is given. As Sarah reaches the age of 15-16 she becomes friendswith a teenage male group, this may be due to her having a lack of male figuresin her life and why she was drawn towards this particular group. They will lead her in a different path as shewants to feel important to help her insecurity and they feel as if she iseasily led and easy to persuade. Bandura (1961) says that children pick upthings and learn from the people they are around and they tend to pay a lot ofattention to these people who may not even be good influences.
However withSarah’s mother having a full time job now Sarah goes to school each day shebecomes less of an influence on her meaning her group of friends become themain part of her microsystem (Bronfenbrenner 1979) and have the biggest impacton her life. Skinner (1938) contrasts to Banduras theory, as Skinner created operantconditioning theory that when the child is punished with negative reinforcementthey wont do it again and with these punishments it will teach them right fromwrong. However now that Sarah is not around her Mother as much and keeps thisbad behaviour from her she doesn’t know what is going on so no punishment isgiven meaning this behaviour carries on. Sarah also craves acceptance from hernew friends so she will continue with the bad behaviour she is around bycopying them and doing what they say to fit in to crave acceptance.
POLITICAL.Sure Startcentres were available across the country and one particular centre was within Sarah’sarea. When Sarah was 2 her and her Mother would go so she would have childcareand activities available for Sarah whilst she was able to gain qualificationswith the help of professionals to allow her to improve the future of her andSarah’s lives. When Sarah turned 3 the local centre was closed down due tofunding not being there anymore meaning her Mother wasn’t able to finish herqualification. This being available toSarah and her Mother would have meant that they would have potentially beenable to improve their lives if her Mother had the qualifications to gain abetter job with better pay.
However on a contrasting side 30 hours of freechildcare were allowed for Sarah, which was a huge help to both her and herMother. Whilst Sarah was at the nursery her Mother was able to get a part timejob for 25 hours a week which enabled an extra income for her and her daughterto help out with bills and more toys and essentials for Sarah. This was also agreat opportunity for Sarah as she was able to be around other children a lotmore. Vygotsky (Pound 2005) said that a child can learn a lot more and developbetter when interaction with others is increased and experiences they haveespecially when around a knowledgeable other such as a teacher. However acontrasting opinion to this would be Piaget (Pound 2005) who says that a childhas a fixed mind-set and their knowledge is developed all on their own.
Thesecontrasting views make it hard to decide if this would have helped Sarah at allin her behaviour or development however regardless of this, the benefits werestill clearly there for her Mother. Sarah lives in Birmingham and by the age of17 she has gotten into a bad crowd where she regularly drinks, smokes and takesdrugs. Research released by Birmingham City Council showed that 9% of 12-18year olds said they smoke and 4% of 12-18 year olds said they had used drugs inthe past month. Also released in their research was statistics that 14% ofchildren have significant emotional problems compared to that national averageof 5%. These figures show that the area Sarah lives in is above average forbehaviours like this meaning it isn’t the best area for her to be around. More research found by Dr Dennis Wilkes andreleased by Birmingham City Council (Wilkes 2014) also supports Bowlbys theory(1951) who would say the absence of Sarah’s Father would maybe effect hermental health, the council said that emotional disorders were more likely forfemales aged 14-16 who live in single-parent families with a low income inrented accommodation. So despite the fact that Ainsworth (1978) says that if achild has a good, stable main attachment figure they are set up for a goodfuture, research shows that despite this Sarah is more likely than the averagechild in a two parent home with a good income to have an emotional disorder asshe gets older.
To concludethis essay there are points in Sarah’s childhood that will effect herdevelopment and the rest of her life, some positive and some negative. Sarah’secological model changed at different times in her life and will affect herundoubtedly. Bronfenbrenners ecological system theory (1979) lets us see whohas the most influence on her life and who will have the least. Although Sarahand her Mothers relationship took a step back and changed from when she was ayoung girl, due to the close bond they once had it would be likely that whenSarah has outgrown her friendship group this could result getting her back ontothe right steps linking to Bowlbys theory (1951) that because her mother wassuch a main impact on the vital first 5 years , as he says, we would hope tosee them rekindle their relationship. With Sarah’s friends and the area shelives in we could hope to see her realise what kind of path her life is goingto take if she continues to surround herself around this, because of the stablerelationship she once had with her Mother however it is arguable that theinsecurity and need for being wanted due to feeling so unneeded and unwanted byher Father will always be there and this may effect her in future relationshipsshe creates through her lifetime.