Ecological theory, in precise the revolutionary work of Urie Bronfenbrenner, has been prominent in the field of Child and Youth Care. The theory not only has deep and far-reaching roots in the field but also has the potential to impact new orders and growth in Child and Youth Care. In relation to the Askin family issue of Justin, son of Gill Askin and Fred Askin has been taken into consideration in this hypothetical case study. Justin eldest of three children of Gill and Fred has been in problem. He is arrogance and violent and has been difficult for Askin family especially to Gill to handle him. Justin spends most of his time in the child care centre and his grandparents’ house after his birth. Due to this he never became close to his parents, especially to his mother. He has been violent and has been suspended from the class two times. This has hampered the life of Gill because she has suffered from postnatal depression and is heartbroken because during this harsh time her husband Fred leaves her to marry Susie. This has broken Gill and has been difficult for her to raise three children alone. As Justin is close to his father Fred he wants to live with him than with his mother. Though Fred is planning kids with Susie he felt difficult to raise him. Also, other extended families have other problems from medical, financial and social issues to deal with it. One of the things that the stories of the Askin family are that they unfolded over time. A useful way to understand this relationship between time and human behaviour is the life course perspective, which looks at how consecutive age, relationships, common life evolutions and social change shape people’s lives from birth to death. Jean Piaget (1952) one of the prominent theorists believe that children understanding the world is the result of their interactions and involvement (Piaget 1952). Askin family case study mainly focuses on development theories which link with attachment theory and consider in the development stages of Justin and Gill and children. The case study also provides us with a summary and notion that replicates on considerate the reader about the social work with kids, the young and families in the society.
Every family and individual got the problem in the family and society. The main problem is that how the individual or family cope with such a situation. In terms of the Askin family, there is also a lot of problem going on. Askin family not only have a problem but also the strength that makes life going on their family. Once we identified strength and weaknesses it would be easier for a social worker to solve the problem in an effective way. In the words of Gitterman and Germain ‘While examining the acceptable among person and environment, the social worker must take into account the physical and social aspects the environment and how culture impacts the relationship between them (Gitterman and Germain, 2008). The reason behind Justin behaviour is he couldn’t spend his childhood with his parents which have impacted him deeply. So the importance of the environment and nurturing in the growth of child plays an important role in the early stage of life. This happens in the life of Justin life as well. He never became close to the parents especially to his mother which affected his behaviour and his relations with his mother. Seeing Justin behaviour and finding him difficult to handle, the kids Hannah and Philip got more attention and more care because they don’t want their other children to be like Justin. Gill after the birth of Justin started teaching but seeing the behaviour of Justin she spend her time with her other children until they are able to school. The good thing about is she gets to spend most of the time with her children and can understand the behaviour and needs of her children. Involvement with the individual can work to increase the confidence, pride, managing skills, independence and competence, or attempt to decrease emotional discomfort. It also helps in families and groups that can work to enable the members to identify and change their relations and forms of communication. But in the Askin family, it doesn’t go well because how much time they try to connect with Justin the behaviour of him never changes. The involvement should decrease pressure within the individual, family, group and/or communities, and promote positive growth and development. In the words of Gitterman “Stress is deﬁned as the ‘consequence of an apparent disparity among environmental demands and capability to manage them with existing inner and exterior resources’ (Gitterman, 1996, pp. 390–1). One of the most important factors of Askin family is they are supportive to her daughter Gill. They have helped her in her hard situation. Although Fred as a husband who should support Gill left her in the middle to marry Susie. There is a lot of problem going in Gill life as Justin is uncontrollable but other children Hannah and Philip are quiet and easy to handle. Hannah is an easy child and understanding as well she understands the problem that is going in the house. Whereas Philip is the youngest of three children is quite shy and closed to his mother. He is still young and felt difficult to understand between anger and worry. But both Hannah and Philip are quiet and supportive to his mother. Bronfenbrenner explains that Child development takes place through developments of gradually further difficult communication between an active child and the persons, objects, and signs in the instant setting. To be active, the interface must occur on an honestly systematic basis over a comprehensive period of time (Bronfenbrenner, 1998. P. 996). One of the biggest strength of the Askin family is they are close to their family members. Gill is closed to her family and they are supportive of her. Also, Fred was close to his family. After the death of his father, he broke hard. Both families of Gill and Fred were close to each other. Also, every member of the Fred family was proud of him. Both Gill and Fred attended the same university and did well in the respective field. According to Gill parents, Fred would never have left Gill because his father was a family man and always support them in every hard situation. Family is the first school for every child. It is the contiguous, most strong, most long-lasting, an important part of the human system. The inspirations of the family spread to all facets of the child’s growth; verbal, nourishment, safety, fitness, and principles are all developed over the idea and performance associated reactions inside the family.
Both Gill and Fred and moving in their life. As Fred had already moved with Susie, Gill still not sure with her life. She still sees Justin as the big hurdle. The social worker has played an important role in the Askin family. A worker tries to understand over the 4 weeks period what the Askin family are suffering and how can the problem be solved. So, worker discusses with every member individually and try to sort out all the issues in a smooth way. Both Gill and Fred grow in the family where the relationship among the member was valued. They were close and supportive of each other. Understanding the Askin family we try to understand social system theory where every individual of the society matters. Kirst-Ashman and Hull (2002, p. 10) more basically deﬁne a system as ‘a set of basics that are arranged and unified to make a practical whole’. The diverse parts or fundamentals of an arrangement do not function in quarantine but function by depending on and cooperating with separately to complete the structure as a whole. The complete cannot be complete without the attendance and involvement of each of the elements. Justin whole family has been affected by his behaviour. After Fred left, Gill was heartbroken and barred Fred from seeing his children. This affected Justin life as he was close to his father. Fred moving with Susie too has affected the Justin as well other life in the Askin family. Although Fred is quite positive for Justin as he wants Justin to stay with him and Susie. But Susie doesn’t want this to happen because she is planning kids with Fred and it may affect their family and newborn baby. In terms of Akin family separation of Gill and Fred have affected the lives of their children. All of their children see Susie as the cause of separation and their behaviour also shows when social worker talk them separately. Understanding Justin is one of the most important tasks for the Social worker because the core issues and the problem is Justin life. So to manage and change in the behaviour of Justin life social worker should play an important role. As Justin is close to his father and likes to play footy and also loves to watch movies. Also, Justin hates his school because he is big and most of his friends think he is dumb. He wants his family back and lives together. The issues of Justin is simple. He wants his family to live together and be happy. He wants to enjoy his life with his father as his father only see him in two weeks period. His father Fred can play an important role in his life. When he is playing footy and is with his father he is calm and quiet. In the words of Germain and Gittermain “Interferences with the singular can work to raise self-confidence, self-respect, managing services, independence and capability, or effort to cut cognitive distress. Intermediations in families and groups can work to allow the fellows to identify and change their communications and designs of the message. Instead, mediations into the surroundings can work to raise the adaptive ﬁt for people, such as trying to lessen and abolish perception, domination and partialities, and increase chances for persons and groups to energetically involve with the atmosphere to see their speciﬁc needs (Germain, 1979; Gitterman and Germain, 2008). In my understanding what I have found after the Social Worker discussion with Justin is he is most comfortable with footy. As he believes that his coach trusts him 100 per cent and comfortable with him as well. After footy coach, Justin is comfortable and trust his father. Other than father and coach he doesn’t trust anyone. So, it would be better if Justin is allowed to focus on footy so it may help in changing his behaviour.
Social worker and the client could recognize that a family system needs interference, yet unlike members of the family are not keen to join in the interference. Social workers and client should work together in endeavouring to infuse the periphery of the organization that is unwilling to participate and, if ineffective, the social worker and client should discover other intrusions that will move the client towards the end goal. This not only helps the client and social workers to understand the situation in the proper way and solve the problem clients are suffering.
- Bronfenbrenner, U. & Morris, P. A. (1998). The ecology of a developmental process. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of Child Psychology, Vol. 1: Theoretical Models of Human Development (5th edition, pp, 992-1028). New York: Wiley.
- Germain, C.B. (ed.) (1979) Social Work Practice: People and Environments. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Gitterman, A. and Germain, C.B. (2008).The Life Model of Social Work Practice: Advances in Theory and Practice, 3rd ed. New York: Columbia University Press.
- Gitterman, A. (1996) Advances in the life model of social work practice, in F.J. Turner (ed.) Social Work Treatment Interlocking Theoretical Approaches, 4th ed New York: Free Press.
- Kirst-Ashman, K.K. and Hull, G.H. (2002) Understanding Generalist Practice, 3rd ed. Paciﬁc Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.
- Piaget, J. (1952). The Origins of Intelligence in Children. New York: International University Press. (Original work published 1936.)