5N0754: Cathy is six years old.  She has been difficult to manage for about two years. She’s rebellious, moody and oversensitive: Psychology Case Study, OC, Ireland

Cathy is six years old.  She has been difficult to manage for about two years.  She’s rebellious, moody and oversensitive and bursts into floods of tears when she doesn’t get her own way.  She often screams blue murder when Ann her foster parent says “No” to her demands for sweets and fizzy drinks and other junk food.  Ann is happy that Cathy has improved her eating habits and that her sleeping pattern has settled down.  When Cathy first arrived she couldn’t sleep and had no interest in regular meals or healthy food.

Ann and Michael, the foster parents have a two-year-old son and Cathy has settled into the family quite well.  However, they are worried about Cathy’s aggressive behaviour and her inability to make friends at school and in the community.  They are also worried that Cathy is taking more and more time and attention and there is no noticeable improvement in her behaviour.  Ann and Michael have tried everything, being hard on her, praising the good behaviour, trying to ignore the bad, star charts, rewards time out, the lot.  Cathy has been in their care for six months.

Cathy likes her new home.  Ann and Michael have given her her own room and he has brought her favourite toys with her.  It is bright and cheery and he feels safe there.  Ann brings her to school every day and collects her in the evenings.  She brings her to the park and to the swimming pool.  Michael plays camogie with her.  Cathy loves helping Ann with baking and really enjoys eating what they make.

They read stories to Cathy and try to reach her by engaging her in activities that he enjoys.  She likes living there and has built up a relationship with them.  Though she still has problems expressing her feelings and often resorts to tantrums or closes them out completely.  Cathy does not talk about her parents to Michael or Ann because he cannot express her confusion.  Cathy is also troubled and unsure in her foster home, as he will have to go back to her natural parents eventually.

Mairead is the community care worker assigned to help Cathy and she visits the foster parents weekly.  She is on call should particular difficulties arise.  Mairead hopes to return Cathy to her home in the long-term future but she will be in their care placement i.e. fostered until her parents can cope again with the help of family support workers.  Cathy has to work through her own emotional issues and her foster home provides a safe and nurturing environment.

Home is a situation of domestic violence and the violent behaviour between her parents is exasperated by regular alcohol abuse.  Cathy’s early memories are of her mum and dad arguing, screaming, shouting and throwing things around.  Then the beatings would start.

As she lay in the dark he heard it happening and was too frightened to go see it all.  At night she likes to sleep with the light on so that she can feel safe.  Cathy was taken into care, as her social worker feared she would be physically harmed.  Cathy was attached to her mother but feared her father.  At the moment she is confused and angry about the whole situation.

Cathy has built up feelings of fear and anger, which she cannot express, and her stress is channelled, into her behaviour.  She is both aggressive and withdrawn at school.  She cannot trust and has no friends.  The other children are afraid of her.  Ann and Michael were called into the school.  The principal is sympathetic to Cathy’s situation but felt that she must inform the foster parents that Cathy was not settling into school.

In class, Cathy displays an inability to concentrate.  She just won’t sit down on her chair, constantly fidgets and has taken to saying no to her teacher and refusing to cooperate.  She’s very lively and can only behave well if given constant one-to-one attention.  The school is providing help as the learning support teacher withdraws Cathy from class and she responds well to that.

Cathy is bored in class and she feels ashamed and embarrassed. She often drifts away and daydreams.  She does not enjoy writing or reading.  She can’t make the letters like the other children. She is developing a poor image of herself and she thinks that she is no good.  She would prefer to watch TV for hours but Michael and Ann said that she must go to school.

Cathy enjoys sports.  She is big and strong and often doesn’t realise her own strength.  She likes playing camogie, running and jumping.  She also enjoys painting and colouring although she doesn’t feel she is good at it.  When playing she has been reprimanded for pushing, pulling and annoying children in the playground.  She won’t play the game by the rules.  She likes to play the game by her own rules.  The other children regard her as a bully as he takes over the game.  Ann and Michael are concerned that they are failing to give Cathy a sense of right from wrong but recognise that her home situation has affected her emotionally.

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The post 5N0754: Cathy is six years old.  She has been difficult to manage for about two years. She’s rebellious, moody and oversensitive: Psychology Case Study, OC, Ireland appeared first on QQI Assignments.

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