• Lack of social/friendship networks.
Children need friendships to develop their interaction, emotional understanding, empathy and social skills. Children who lack these networks tend to feel isolated and therefore isolate themselves more. They may suffer insecurities about themselves and be withdrawn and shy. They may struggle to communicate, share and understand the needs and feelings of others. As they grow older the insecurities may lead to self-hatred and self-harm. They will lack people to confide in or go to for advice. They may find themselves drawn into ‘the wrong crowd’ because they seem welcoming, and as a result find themselves manipulated.
• Poor parental supervision/neglect.
Without guidance children do not learn the correct ways to behave. This will cause them to come into conflict at school because they do not know or understand acceptable boundaries. They may be unaware of the dangers they can face in life. They may have a distorted view of their own abilities and may believe that they are allowed to do what they want because they are never prevented. They may believe they are unloved, unimportant and unvalued and as they grow older this could lead to depression and self-harm. The lack of boundaries could result in them becoming involved in crime and anti-social behaviour. Neglect could lead to health problems through malnutrition. They may struggle to form social relationships because of their lack of personal hygiene. Poor clothing could lead to bullying and teasing, causing them to withdraw and become isolated.
If the child suffers from illness or disability they may find they frequently miss school, they may then miss large chunks of their education and struggle to achieve. It may cause them to miss out on activities such as sports, which could leave them feeling isolated. These feelings could develop into anger or resentment and may cause them to have behavioural problems. They may be misjudged as lacking intelligence and therefore not given challenges, leading to boredom and perceived disruptive behaviour.
If the child is the carer of a parent suffering illness or disability this can lead to emotional difficulties. The child may struggle to understand the role reversal they are experiencing, viewing themselves as being on a par with adults and more mature than their peers, resulting in them struggling to form friendships. They may become resentful at missing out on their childhood and present challenging behaviour. They may suffer anxiety whilst away from home and worry about their parent, resulting in a failure to engage in their education. They may not fulfil their potential in life as much of it will be dedicated to being a carer. Having a parent with a long term illness or disability could also lead to financial hardship due to lack of employment.
• Criminal or anti –social behaviour
Whether it is behaviour presented by the child, a sibling or parent it could result in the child being taken into care. A parent could be absent for a length of time, if imprisoned, causing emotional stress. The child may perceive the behaviour as normal or acceptable, especially if it is being carried out by the parents and copy it. It may result in a transient lifestyle, as they could be re-housed as a result of anti-social behaviour. This would result in the child suffering a disrupted education and struggling to form long term stable friendships.
The impact of addictions on children can be various. They can suffer health problems, if their mother had a drug or alcohol problem during pregnancy. They may suffer poverty due to lack of employment, or if the addiction is gambling. They may suffer from neglect, abuse or/and violence. If they have younger siblings they may find themselves responsible for their care and therefore may suffer stress and feel...