TOC Next Previous

1.4 What children learn

The events and circumstances leading to
children coming into care jeopardize their present and future well-being. The
complex problems and issues certainly there for them aren’t minor and aren’t
something they will quickly grow out of or just get over. They are serious
problems requiring your thoughtful attention.

Children are continuously learning. What they learn and how well they
learn it are the important questions. In healthy, stable families, children
discover an exciting world where they can experiment with and master the ideas
and skills they need to grow and develop in productive and positive ways. Their
parents aren’t always right, don’t always set the best example, and sometimes
make mistakes. Still, everyone in the family shares in the give-and-take and
healthy learning goes on for everyone.

In homes where children are severely maltreated, children still learn
but what they learn and what they do with what they learn are quite different

From your
point of view:

Write your
thoughts after each question.

•           What
do children learn when they are continuously exposed to family and neighborhood
violence, drug abuse, severe poverty, criminal activity, and serious parental
and family dysfunction?

•           What
do children learn when their parents don’t keep them safe and don’t tend to
their needs and well-being?

•           What
do children learn when they live in filthy, unsafe homes?

•           What
do children learn when they are physically, emotionally, and sexually violated
by people in their homes?

•           What
do children learn when they are abruptly removed from their homes, from their
families, from their neighborhoods, from their schools, and from their personal

•           What
do children learn when a family who said they cared about them has them removed
because they are inconvenient or disruptive?

•           What
do children learn when they are moved from place to place and have little to no
say about it?

•           What
do maltreated children do with all of the learning experiences they have had?
What ideas, behavior, and life-skills do they master?

•           How
would you expect all of that learning to come out in terms of the child’s
behavior, emotional and social adjustment, family relationships, school
performance, and general attitude?

TOC Next Previous

Please send comments or questions to Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. || and visit