Term Paper: Family Intervention Family Issues - Profile Cody

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Family Intervention

Family Issues - Profile

Cody is a nine-year-old boy, enrolled in the local elementary school. Cody exhibits antisocial behaviors at home and at school at least 2-3 times a week. Cody's mother is 26 years old and has been married three times. Her first husband was an alcoholic who abused both his mother and Cody for four years. The mother then lived with a man for three years, but then kicked him out when after the arguments and fights became violent. The third relationship was, once again, abusive toward both of them and ended suddenly and violently.

Until one and a half years ago, Cody was a happy, well-adjusted boy despite the circumstances. However, after his mother had a second child by the third husband, Cody's behavior began to change. His grades fell in school and he began getting into fights with other children. He became distant and lost his happy-go-lucky attitude. He became sullen and a boy that used to be polite developed a foul mouth. He personality changed so drastically that it is difficult to recognize him as the same boy.

Some of the behaviors that I have observed personally include:

Bragging and then becoming argumentative to peers while riding bikes.

After picking a fight with peers, Cody was told to go home by an adult. He stormed off and called the adult a foul name.

Cody stole some tomatoes at a farmer's market as he rode his bike past and popped them in his mouth when a safe distance away. He yelled, "You can't catch me!"

Stealing his mother's cigarette lighter and setting his carpet on fire. He was attempting to burn notes that he had written about other people, particularly those in his old peer group.

Jumping up and down on the hood of his mother's car and then refusing to stop when told to do so by her.

Dropping grades and test scores.

Consequences

Cody's first consequence was discipline at school, including Friday school and detention. This became such as regular occurrence, that one day Cody stated, "I might as well do it because I will have Friday school anyway." Cody's mother stated that she feels sorry for him and wishes everyone would just quit picking on him. She only uses gentle tones when correcting him. She will send him to his room, but punishment generally involves a good "talking to." Even when her remedies are ineffective, she continues to defend his bad behavior to others.

It is obvious that Cody desperately wants attention from his mother. He misbehaves continually when she pays attention to the new baby, or tries to have a conversation with another adult. When Cody misbehaves, his mother will say, "Cody stop that," without much emphasis. Cody's typical response is to stick his tongue out at her behind her back and make "faces" at her. He then goes back to the same activities that got him into trouble in the first place.

Analysis

Many factors contribute to Cody's inability to develop adequate coping skills. The first is that he was unable to form strong attachments to a strong male figure in the family. Every male figure that came into his life treated him and his mother poorly and then left. He never had a strong male to model. During Cody's visits with his first father, Cody is given access to guns and taught how to use them. His father continually berates his mother to him and encourages him to cause trouble for her. They do not function as an effective parenting team, but instead try to use Cody to hurt each other.

Cody lost his coping ability when his baby brother was born. Many of his actions are a direct attempt to gain his mother's attention. She provides immediate, negative attention, but the tone in her voice says that it is half-hearted. She often says, "Not now, I have to do something with Garrett (little brother)." Cody then escalates the behavior. Cody's fire-setting episode came after he was sent to his room for hitting his little brother.

Cody models the poor behavior that has seen all of his life. His mother is stressed out physically, emotionally and financially. She is unable to give him the attention that he was used to before the new baby came home. Prior to this time, Cody and his mother had a very close relationship. Now that relationship is distant. Cody is attempting to gain his mothers attention and escalates when he does not receive it.

I believe that the most important factor in Cody's behavioral change is inappropriate modeling. Cody continues to receive negative modeling from his father. He has had three bad role models in his life, none of which he was able to form an attachment with. His mother was his only refuge. Now Cody may feel that he has lost her to his little brother. Cody has a high desire to please his mother, but if he cannot get positive attention from her, he will settle for negative attention. Cody may have intentionally distanced himself from his friends to avoid the pain that he would feel if they left him too.

When Cody gets in trouble, the first thing that is says is, "I am not a bad person." He has become despondent and withdrawn. His self-esteem has become low. He has the expectation that situations will turn out poorly and sometimes acts in a way to fulfill this expectation. Cody does not feel that he can control when or where he will get in trouble. His second grade teacher singled him out as a "bad boy." This teacher tended to give him overly cruel punishments, as compared to other kids in the class. This teacher was eventually dismissed, but only after Cody had experienced one more negative reaction. Cody's behavior today is a product of incidence after incidence of people treating him badly through no fault of his own. His reactions are a coping mechanism to these experiences.

Cody has been involved with counseling and therapy on three separate occasions through the County Health Department. These sessions only had limited success and when therapy was discontinued, the behaviors seemed to become worse. Cody expressed on several occasions that the therapist, "didn't like him." He felt that the therapist blamed him. This experience turned into another negative experience for Cody. His mother was unable to continue with the recommendations of the therapist, as she was too busy and did not wish to punish him too hard. Punishment and reward have been inconsistent from many directions in his life. His relationships have been dominated by negative, rather than positive experiences so much that he now expects a negative outcome.

Spousal and child abuse are common, everyday occurrences in some families (Simons, et. al., 2005). This is the case with Cody's early formative years. He was provided abuse as the modeled way to behave within the family structure. Baumrind's typology provides and interesting lens through which to view this case. Baumrind's typology revolves around the degree of responsiveness and the degree of control that a parent exerts over the child (Simons, et al., 2006). Cody's mother demonstrated high responsiveness and permissive parenting early in life. The men in her life were consistently authoritarian and neglecting/rejecting parenting style. Cody often felt like the fifth wheel when his mother was with her latest flame.

Cody's mother was responsive to him when her boyfriends were not around, but was often neglecting and unresponsive when she was with one of her boyfriends. Cody continually received mixed signals about the type of response that he would receive from his mother, who was the only one responsive to his needs at the time. Relationships outside of the parenting structure also had an impact on Cody's development of antisocial behavior. For instance, Cody's teacher that singled him out was extremely controlling and very unresponsive to Cody's cries for help. Cody's world lacked consistency in the response that he received from society. This fits in clearly with Baumrind's typology theory.

In Simons and Associates (2005), page 87 of the test provides an example where the biological parent often ends up being the authoritarian without the support of the other parent. It also describes the situation of divided loyalty for the biological or step parent. This was the case with Cody's mother, as she constantly struggles with who should receive her attention. However, unlike the example in the text, Cody's mother never provided the discipline that was needed. Instead, she did the exact opposite and defended his antisocial behavior. Her inability to cooperate with therapy recommendations and denial of poor behavior in school is evidence that she never realized

Suggested Interventions

One of the key difficulties with Cody's case is that the abuse not only occurred within the family, but was reinforced by forces outside of the family. Those punished Cody for bad behavior outside of the home only reinforced Cody's idea that he would be singled out and punished regardless… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Family Intervention Family Issues - Profile Cody.  (2008, May 7).  Retrieved July 16, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/family-intervention-issues/9690565

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"Family Intervention Family Issues - Profile Cody."  Essaytown.com.  May 7, 2008.  Accessed July 16, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/family-intervention-issues/9690565.