Planning For Single Parent Children In Schools

Divorce is one of our major issues these days and it’s getting its roots stronger in the society. People marry and divorce without realizing bitter consequences their children may face due to this abrupt separation. Bobov School in New York City is of one of those schools that is facing problems in their children because of high rate of divorce. These children have been observed to face many issues due to parental divorce. Children from divorced families face problems such as Identity issues, thinking they are different from other children, they have negative self-identity, feeling of worthlessness and sense of guilt without any apparent reason.

The teachers of these children have been worried over constantly poor result of these children. They have been reporting this to the school principal as well as parents of these children but no improvement has been observed. The situation became more worrisome when few students left the school because their single parent’s couldn’t afford the school fee.When these children were inquired about the reason of their poor performance or reason of leaving the school, some of them can’t really report it because they feel embarrassed to tell about parental divorce, few of them said that they feel depressed because their parents have got separated and that’s the reason they can’t perform well. Few of them even report that because their siblings have been divided due to parental divorce they want to go where they are and don’t want to study.

When the school principal called annual parent teacher meeting, few of these children’s single parent joined and few even missed the meeting, when the children were asked about the reason that their parents didn’t come for the meeting, the children told that they had been under severe stress or they had gone to the court for some issues.  The school psychologist predicts that they are very likely to be dealing with emotional pain related to the divorce, the fighting of their parents, non-sufficient financial resources in the family, siblings split between mother and father, not seeing father or mother often enough.

There is much literature on effects of parental divorce on children’s academic performance and mental health; few of the studies show that divorce not only causes damage to the child at small level but it leads to deteriorate the child’s emotional support, economic crises and increase in number of other negative life events, the week-end parent child relationship breaks their trust and ability to maintain close relationships even with peers this not only creates short-term effects but causes long-term damage to a child’s life even as grows older. (Fagan & Churchill, 2012).It has also been observed that few children have become violent in class and their peer relationship have been damaging since their parents divorced. Few of the children have been observed to disobey and fight with their teachers, their home works are not complete and they don’t even want to study in the class.

The literature has addressed these issues by giving evidence that children of divorced parents, when these children go through every day conflict and lack of emotional support their own personality is damaged and they lose self-control. Additionally the rejection by one of the parent makes the child feel unacceptable by others and their social skills get damaged. (Fagan & Churchill, 2012)The Idea of change is to plan extra-curricular activities for children of divorced parents, giving them individual sessions, calling for awareness campaign and workshops for teacher to make these children feel accepted and appreciated as other child

Muster Support

In order to initiate a change it’s important that the social worker muster support to invite the school, its teachers, advocates, Rabbis and Psychologists to plan towards a change program. This will allow the program to run in a system of change. It is required to identify and collect resources, present the objectives and goals of the program and argue for it support in front of the respected audience, that could be school administration, teaching staff that handles these children, the primary goals of the program and the benefits to the target population that are children in this case can be discussed with the group that will make the system (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015).

The social worker can approach Rabbis which is the community who deal with these families already and make them aware of the effect of parental divorce on children at academic and mental level. They can play their role by teaching and making awareness in the parents through their weekly sermons. Advocates may be the large group of social workers who can warn parents at the time of divorce that how badly their child can suffer from divorce. They can even guide the couple to think about positive change they can bring in their life as another option other than divorce on their unresolved issues, the advocate can even refer them to marriage counselor who can help them solve their issues and prevent children from going at stake.

The School administration will be approached in order to make them realize to consider academic, mental social and behavioral issues of these children who had been suffering due to divorce and plan a school based intervention to help them deal with these problems. The goals and objectives of the plan can be discussed with the school administration.A child counselor can be hired by the school’s administration as ensuring good upbringing of the children at school is always their first motive. The counselor would be able to keenly observe the behavior of these children and can then plan children focus program according to his study, the required interventions in the school’s environment and plans for these children (Warshak, 2015)

The school admin can plan to organize parent training program that can help the parents understand what impacts their conflicts make on their children and how can they manage to not let their conflict affect their children and keep the home environment as safe and healthy as possible.

Identify Assets

In order to maximize the assets and bring the change to its initial steps, the social worker would need to take necessary steps as “preparing the agency for change, conducting a feasibility study and soliciting necessary financial resources” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 262).First he would need to prepare school administration for the change, convince the advocates and clarify his objective of the change to Rabbis. As the social worker has good working relations with the school principal so he can ask them to contact the board of governors of the school and prepare them towards a change.

Secondly it would be important for him to collect information of the children’s need, conducting a feasibility study would be appropriate method of analyzing the problems these children face due to parental divorce, the behavioral and social issues they encounter while in the class environment and how their and academic performance is being affected due to family problems, he would also need to “increase the stress level and sense of urgency, related to the need for program development” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 263). Upon his feasibility study he will have enough evidence to convince the school’s principal and the board of governors to pay attention to the problems and take urgent steps to develop some change program and protect children’s well-being and their academic performance that affects the school’s result overall.

After conducting the feasibility the social worker can estimate the requirement of assets to bring the change, he can ask the school admin to request for more funds to the board of governors or make some small increment in the school fee for providing extra services, he can even suggest taking assistance from the government or encourage the volunteers to fund the school for the purpose of change.

Goals

The goal of the program is to plan extra-curricular for children suffering with parental, to arrange an awareness program to make an effort to reduce divorce rate and help these children perform better at academic and personal level. This will ensure healthy school environment and will allow them to get out of their emotional problems. The primary purpose of the change is to implement a program that can ensure healthy mental and intellectual upbringing of these children at school.

The primary goal would be counseling of these children which would include planning and developing an extra-curricular program for children of divorce, planning a daily or weekly schedule to attend counseling sessions and get involved in different activities, this will let them improve their social and behavioral performance. Spreading awareness to the parents and family is also one of the important goals to make them realize effects of their conflicting behavior to their child as well. Lastly planning a work shop for the teacher, where they can create an environment of equality in the class and make these children feel that they are same as their other class fellows, there is no difference of having single or both parents and if any child lacks in something because having one parent then every other class fellow of his will be there to help him in every possible way. In this program of change there can be some criticism at the side of advocates and Rabbis so it’s important to consider planning a convincing strategy for them and bring them to the point where they can realize the need of running such a program at school level and their need of cooperation in the program can be discussed. Their cooperation can play an important role in parent training program for the divorced parents and this can be planned in collaboration with the school.

 Implementation

In order to implement the program and bring it into practical form the social worker needs to consider the receptiveness, of the identified target system, to the new idea (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015). The social worker would need to consider influencing the appropriate school personnel to provide support; the social worker needs to decide which people will be most likely to provide support for the idea and be able to convince others. The school principal seems to be the person whom the social worker can influence to take necessary steps for the change. He can then contact with board of governors and can convince them for requirement of taking the steps for the change in the light of proof and evidence for the requirement of change.

The second important thing to consider is that who shall present the proposal to committee of board of governors because the principal is the most trusted person for the governor and he has been getting complaints from the teachers about poor academic and class performance of these children so he would be the most appropriate person who can present the proposal with the required evidence and support.

Another important step would be planning for co-curricular activities, with regard to the objective of the change, it would be important to plan physical as well as mental training activities that can engage these children and bring their own potentials out this will not only let these children feel self-confident but they would also have better performance academically and behaviorally in their class. It would be required that the sports coach would plan activities in collaboration with the child counselor to engage these students in the activities that are appropriate to their age and achievement level. The requirement would be to make them mentally healthy for which physical health would be one of the aspects. (Taylor, Sallis, & Needle, 1985)

Support from teaching staff would be one of major practical concerns for this change. The staff would need not only to be trained to perform their duty towards change but they would also need to consider the time requirement for the co-curricular activities for these children. The teaching staff can be given specific lectures with conduction of workshops by the school admin to teach them psychological and mental condition of these children, the problems they might be facing at home that makes them act badly with other class fellows and the necessary steps and plans teachers need to follow to bring out positive change from the children.

In order to practically implement the program it would be required to implement program on few children, this will help in analyzing the effectiveness of the program for the children and this will also identify any required changes to make in the program before implementing it on a larger a scale. This would need to indulge these students in one or two co-curricular activities, including physical or mental exercise, daily or weekly counseling session with the child counselor so children can discuss their personal and emotional problems with the counselor. This can include reference to Rabbis or advocates as well. Additionally the teachers will use verbal and non-verbal cues to make the class environment equal for everyone and make the child in problem as adorable and appreciated child of the class. Special class group activities can also be arranged for the purpose.

Once the plan has been implemented practically the requirement to formalize the contract with the children’s parents would be the next important step “because it can solidify agreements made by the target of change” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015). Children’s parents will be involved in the contract because they are the closest well-wishers for the children.

Neutralizing the Opposition

To neutralize the opposition, the social worker needs to anticipate a “honeymoon period, and the maintenance of ongoing administrative support” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, 265). Initially when the program will be implemented the enthusiasm for the change program will be very high but as the program will continue to be implemented many hidden problems could crop up that can challenge the practicality of the program.

Oppositions to change may possibly be deeply religious people who prefer the status quo out of their belief that divorce should be avoided at all costs, and people should not become comfortable with divorce, it would be important to make them clear that the change program has been planned not to provide cushion to divorce in the society rather its planned to support the brittle effects of divorce that can’t be avoided.Funding for the program can be one of the problems that can become limitations to the change program; it can be solved by requesting the government to assist in running the program, they will be explained about the requirement and necessity of implementing the program so they can fund for the change, secondly volunteers can be encouraged to help the children in problem feel as good as children not having those problems, with this the school administration can make small increment in school fee and convince the parents for increment for providing counseling services for the children.

There might be a possibility that parents may feel discomfort about children being asked about their family issues by the counselors, it is important that parental consent be taken before including any child in the program and parent counseling or training can also play an important role in convincing them to allow consoling that would be in child’s benefit.  (Hermann & Jr., 2008)

Evaluation

In order to evaluate the feasibility of the program it is important to consider various features. First to consider would be to “compare the program’s success with clients to the success of a similar group of clients not involved in the program” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 392)The social worker would need to plan out a study, in which he would analyze the effectiveness of the program for the children suffering from parental divorce, he would conduct quasi-experimental study where he will include children suffering from parental divorce as sample for his study. Purposive sampling technique can be used to collect the sample for the study. The “independent variable is that which we believe is likely to influence, cause or contribute to particular phenomenon” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 392). For the current study involvement in co-curricular activities can be the independent variable that will be study, this will predict the change in the child’s mental and intellectual performance.

The “dependent variable is that which we are most interested in understanding, measuring or predicting” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2015, p. 392). For this study there could be two dependent variables one would be psychological well-being of the child that will measure his emotional, behavioral and thought content and physical health that we need to make positive with our intervention and the second dependent variable would be academic achievement that will analyze the effect of intervention on child’s academic performance. As the Independent and dependent variables of the study have been selected it would be required to assess these variables on the target population, initially these variables will be assessed that will be called as pre-test.

Then there will be intervention time period that can last for about one month in which these children would get involved in co-curricular activities and awareness programs will b conducted additionally with the parent training programs and teachers will play their role as supporters for these children. As the intervention program will finish another assessment will be conducted to analyze the effectiveness of the treatment.This would be called ABA design where the baseline data about these children was collected and then the therapeutic intervention was conducted following the re-assessment method that is conducted to analyze effectiveness of the intervention plan. The results of second assessment will clarify the change in psychological health and academic achievement of children due to intervention plan.

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