Developmental Psychology

Developmental Psychology


Interviewer: Radio presenter

Interviewee: Developmental psychologist

Interview Setting: Radio Station

Start time of interview: 9:30 AM

End time of interview: 12:30 PM

Date of Interview: 23rd March 2017

Interviewer: Good morning listeners. Hello, and welcome to today's programme.  Today, we are privileged to have a developmental psychologist in our studios. She is going to elaborate more on the care of children and the government policy for finding care for all children, among other issues. Get ready with your questions at the end of the interview.

Interviewer: Welcome to the programme

Interviewee: Thank you.

Interviewer: Now, the government policy is that children should be cared for in families. We also hear in the news about British adoptions of children from overseas orphanages. “But do children who start off life in institutions, particularly poor institutions, and who are then adopted, develop normally?” Is the policy of finding families for all children based on real evidence?

Interviewee: Children who are brought up in institutions and as you have specified, weak institutions, at some point tend to suffer from certain developmental delays. Unexpected developmental lanes follow these delays. It is a bit difficult to detect whether these institutions are the cause of such insufficiencies or keep up pre-existing deficits. I will briefly explain the development deficiencies that children in poor schools tend to display. 

(i). Physical development

     First, I will begin the explanation with physical development. When you go to certain institutions (an in this case, poor institutions), you are likely to observe that children have retarded physical growth. (Van IJzendoorn. Bakermans-Kranenburg, & Juffer, 2007; Chapter 4). When you compare children in such institutions to the children growing up in the family setting, it is quite obvious that there is a real difference in terms of their physical growth. Such differences are evident in and are manifested by issues like weight, height, and head perimeter. What this effectively means, therefore, is that children reared in a family setup are more likely to present with the right weight, height, and head perimeter for their age, unlike those from poor institutions who are likely to manifest signs of retarded growth.  However, orphaned children who have nowhere else to go have to make do with the prevailing conditions in these facilities. (ii). Hormonal development

     The other issue that I wish to address is the issue of hormonal development. Children in these poor institutions do not usually show a normal pattern of cortisol variation the whole day. For the sake of our listeners, Cortisol is a hormone that is responsible for the way we respond to stress. When your cortisol levels in the body are too high or too low, this is not good for your health (Carlson and Earls (1997).  In this case, children in poor institutions exhibit low cortisol levels in the morning and a high range of cortisol in the evening (Gunnar, 2001). While having high levels of cortisol in the morning is quite normal as we have just awoken, too much of it is not good as it interferes with our circadian rhythms, or the ability to relax. Usually, this happens after we have had a good night's sleep. The high level of cortisol among children in these poor institutions could be indicative of their lack of good sleeping patterns. 

(iii) Cognitive development

     According to various studies, it has been established that children in the institutions have a low IQ, and have delays in language (Crissey, Durfee & Wolf 1933). It was also noted that the more the children stay in these institutions, and then the more cognitive performance continues to go down (Ahmad & Mohamad, 1996). When I compared the research on children reared in their families and those in institutions, and then I found out that those in poor institutions have a great delay in IQ as compared to those in families (VanIJzendoorn, Luijik, & Juffer, 2008). Those in families had an average IQ/DQ of 104 while those in institutions have an IQ/DQ average of 84. 

(iii). Attachment Security

       We all know vividly that those children who end up in these institutions are a result of separation from or loss of their biological parents and other guardians. Despite the fact that the children get all their basic needs, they suffer effects of institutional care (Bowlby, 1952). The children find it hard to get someone they can be close to due to poor and less amount of contact with their caregivers (Grunnar, Bruce, & Grotevant, 2000).

Interviewer: Is the policy of finding families for all children based on real evidence

Interviewee: Yes, it's based on real evidence. This is because before a child is given to a particular family, their needs, characteristics, and experiences are considered. This is from childhood into adulthood life. Because we consider factors such as age and, ethnicity. We record the age at which the child has been given to a particular family (SSDA903), to avoid a child being trapped in indecision, and lack of timeliness. At some point, it may be challenging just because older children have more challenging needs. This is due to their implication in particular needs for stability and a great need for support as they move to the level of adulthood (Grunnar, 2000)

Interviewer: When can one contact Adoptions, and is one obliged to choose adoption?

Interviewee: Firstly, you can contact adoption agencies anytime despite the length of your pregnancy or even if you already gave birth. The moment you get into contact with the adoption specialist, we will determine if it’s the best choice for you. We help you manage to answer some of the adoption questions. Adoption is a process, that’s why we have questions as part of the process. Such that those adopting taking advantage of the children or parents giving the children for adoption as a way of running away from their parental obligations. Part of the questions is knowing to whom we have given the children for adoption, and if the person taking the child can effectively take care of the children. No one would want their child to suffer, and thus anyone taking the child should be ready to take good care of the child just like their own(Bakermans-Krannenburg MJ, 2008). You obliged to choose adoption after going through a series of questions and investigations. You have to tell us why you want to give your child for adoption with perfect and valid reasons.

Interviewer: Why do parents give up their children for adoption?

Interviewee: There are reasons why parents prefer to give their children for adoption. Firstly, it's due to a lack of resources. Some parents have the perspective that their children deserve to grow up in a more financially stable family, thus deciding to give them up for adoption. If a woman is facing abuse from her family, and she does not want the child to be part of it, she gives up the child for adoption. This is when she does not receive any financial assistance. Another reason is in the case of disability. If both parents are disabled and utterly incapable of raising the child, they decide to give them up for adoption.  Especially if they cannot receive support from anyone.  Thirdly, is the mother’s age. This is common for those who give birth when in their teen years. When a teen feels that it's too early for her to take care of the child, then she prefers to give it up for adoption. Most teens have a dream of graduating and will find that taking care of the baby may prevent them from achieving their goals. If the institution in which the teen is learning doesn’t have a daycare, then they choose adoption. Fourthly, Beliefs, culture, and religion. In some cultures, if one gives birth out of wedlock, she becomes a single mother. (Juffer, 2008)  Thus, instead of being a single mother, one would prefer to give up the child for adoption. Also, some people believe that adoption is not right and thus prefer adoption.

Interviewer: Does one choose the adoptive family?

Interviewee: Yes. You are the one in charge of the whole process of the adoption. The foster family included. Here, your adoption specialist will help you find the type of family you want your child to be adapted to. If your dream was for your child to grow up in the city or West Coast, it all depends on you. You are the one to choose the type of life you prefer your child to have (Merz Ec, Mccall RB, 2010).

What are the factors to consider when choosing an adoptive family?

Interviewee: There are some factors one has to consider whenever they want to choose an adoptive family. First, you have to show your openness apparently. Here is where you determine the type of parents you want your child to grow up with. You picture your baby in a perfect family. What do you see? Both father and mother? Two mothers and two fathers or a single parent? Secondly, Location is paramount. Some parents prefer to have the child placed far away. Others find it necessary if the child is placed locally. (Wolf PH, 2005) Another reason is Religion; some parents prefer their children to religion just like theirs. Thus they look for a family with the same religion as theirs. Race, some parents prefer their children to be raised by parents of the same race just as theirs.

Interviewer: What are the benefits of adoption?

Interviewee: These can be divided into two: benefits to the adoptive family, and benefits to the birth mother. Am going to explain the benefits to the foster family. Some couples early want children and do not have the ability to get one, after expensive treatments prefer adoption.  Once they adopt, their struggle for a child ends, and they eventually become parents. Another benefit is that they have a child to raise, get to teach them what is right and, wrong, and most have someone to carry their family name. When it comes to the birth mother, the following are the benefits. The main advantage is if the mother wants to go and carry on with her studies. The child becomes an enormous barrier to her. (Zeanah Ch, Smyke AR, 2005).Therefore, for her to achieve her dream, and goals, and have the ability to complete her education, she has to give out her child for adoption. It's even more peaceful for her when the child has been raised in the happy family she dreamt her child always had.

Interviewer: Lastly, what are the challenges that you experience in your field of developmental psychology and how do you deal with it?

Interviewee: It's always a fact that every field has some challenges and solutions to the challenges. In my area, I test the kids so that they can learn things like language, and social interactions, and gain knowledge. But the problem is that the time, and the efficiency as to which the children get to vary when compared to experience. This is simply because a child’s early life is determined by his/her socioeconomic status. (MacLean K, 2003) Some people in the social science field are at times termed as WEIRD. This means that they are not the same as those of the world’s population. These issues of WEIRD have not been seriously looked into, and progress in addressing it has little progress. Dealing with them is a bit hard, but we do try our best. We have looked into them, for example, the problem of children's experience, we have decided first to know the child’s experience so that when making them learn, it won’t be very problematic.  Also knowing the child’s socio-economic status first has been necessary and made teaching them easier. Regarding the issues of WEIRD, we are trying to first know the education level before allowing the undergraduates to be fixed into the field.

Interviewer: Thanks a lot for your time

Interviewee: You are most welcome.     





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Zeanah Ch, Smyke AT, Koga S, Carlson E, the BEIP Core Attachment in institutionalized and community children in Romania, 2005.     

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