Working With Children and Adolescents: The Case of Dalia

According to social learning theory, the upbringing of children determines their behavior. Therefore, parents should create time to shape the best character for their children. This paper presents the biopsychosocial history of a 14-year-old adolescent whose behavior changed drastically at a tender age due to a lack of parental intervention. It will also evaluate and reveals an analysis of her therapy assessment.

Demographic Information

Dalia is a 14-year-old female who lives with her parents in a middle-class community. She is a biracial born of African and Irish American parents. She is the last born of three children, her elder brother living in another city, and her older sister studying at the tertiary level. Her parents are married for over twenty-five years, both of them working. Her father works in the creative art industry while her mother is an executive.

Presenting Issues

Dalia was presented for counselling because she had changed her behavior in several ways. She involved arguments even with authority figures, her peers, and her mother. Also, Dalia rarely concentrated in class, kept an irritable mood, and her peers had started taking alcohol at their homes. Lastly, as her parents had stated, she used to involve herself in extra-curricular activities in her middle school, but currently described them as corny and boring.

Referral Source

Her parents referred Dalia to counselling. Her mother specifically was a reliable historian because she lived with Dalia for a longer time than anybody else. It means she had all the vital information a counsellor could need concerning Dalia. Besides, being her mother, anybody could trust any information she gives out since experts in parenthood say mothers know about their children more than anyone else could (Way et al., 2013). The information provided was gleaned from observation. Dalia’s mother had observed her daughter since birth, she knew her normal behavior, and thus, when she changed to the worst, she watched. Therefore, she gave information from watching Dalia.

Current Living Situation

Dalia lives with her parents in a middle-class community. Both of her parents are working, and thus, her family depends on the parents’ income. Although Dalia is the last born in her family, she spends very minimal time with her parents. For one, her father works in the creative art industry, so he spends most of the nights and days at work. Secondly, her mother is an executive; therefore, the only time they spend together is at night.

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Birth and Developmental History

Dalia is the third born in a family. She is biracial, with her parents being African and American. She has one brother and one sister. Her brother lives in another city while her sister is a student at a college level. Her childhood was calm, with no physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Despite that, in her early childhood, she was diagnosed with an illness that is now vanishing.

School and Social Relationships

The case study mentions Dalia as being an easy-going person who enjoyed spending time with her peers. However, the relationship with the peers was not constructive because Dalia admitted drinking alcohol with them. She started showing a strange behavior about her education when she was in middle school, but after twelve weeks of therapy, Dalia was to join high school. Her performance in extra-curricular activities was exceptionally excellent when she was in middle school. Her mother stated that Dalia enjoyed singing with her peers. However, as she progressed, she lost sense of the activities and described them as corny and boring.

Family Members and Relationships

She has both parents and two siblings, a sister and a brother. Although her siblings are all away from home, Dalia describes her brother as “cool” to her, while on the other hand, she describes her sister as “not cool.” It means she gets along with her brother more quickly than her sister. Also, she says her father lets her do what she wants, while her mother scrutinizes her activities, trying to control her. Again, it indicates that she is in a good relationship with her father instead of her mother. Although she is a high school student, she shows highly sexualized behavior with her male peers. It means the partners are school mates and of the same age as Dalia.

Health and Medical Issues

In her early childhood, she was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia and received treatment in the hospital several times. She is currently in good health as the last two episodes of the illness occurred two years ago, meaning the condition was cured. She is also not under any medications. Nevertheless, her health habits are inappropriate. Her mother reported that Dalia stays awake and night and sleeps during the day. It is a behavior that disrupts her regular sleeping pattern. Also, she takes alcohol with the influence of her peers. It poses risks to her health and the threat of addiction, considering she is also still young. Also, the fact that she engages in sexual behavior with male peers poses a risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Dalia, however, does not have a history of psychiatry or mental disorder.

Client’s Strengths, Capacities, and Resources

Dalia’s attribute of being an easy-going person is a strength. Through this, she can be able to establish constructive relationships that will see her succeed. Another strength is the ability to express herself. During the first meeting of therapy, she was able to tell the therapist about how her parents had changed and how it affected her. It was crucial because it enabled the therapist to find an appropriate approach for the therapy. Dalia has the capacity to explore her talent for singing and make the best out of it. As her mother pointed out, she loved singing as a recreational activity. It means singing is her talent, and if she focuses on it, she can explore it. Finally, on resources, she has what it takes to succeed. Her parents are working day and night shows they are ready to support her through the resources she needs.



Challenges Faced by the Client

Firstly, Dalia faced the challenge of improper parenting. Although the parents spend their time at work, having time with their daughter is as important as working. In parenthood, spending quality time with children creates a sense of trust, love, and respect between the parents and the children (Aparicio, Pecukonis, & O’Neale, 2015). Even though Dalia’s parents were concerned about their children’s welfare, they should have created time to bond with the daughter. It gives the daughter someone to lean on other than the outsiders. For instance, if Dalai got a problem sharing with her mother, it becomes another problem because her mother spent long hours at work, and when she came back home, she was could be tired.

Secondly, she faced the challenge of alcohol addiction. At her tender age of fourteen, she was already involved in drinking alcohol. While this challenge erupts from an influence of peers, improper parent care dramatically contributes to it. Dalai says her father let her do what she wants. Meaning he did not care where she went, who she went with, or what she was doing. Therefore, it was easy for her to engage in such behaviors as drinking alcohol. It is a challenge because no child would want to start taking alcohol at a tender age and interfere with their education, physical, and health life.

How Social Environment affects the Client

The social environment of Dalia comprises of her school and home peers as well as her parents. As the mother pointed out, she was drinking alcohol with her peers. It, therefore, means that her friends influence her into doing the drinking. Also, she was being engaged in sexual activities with male peers. Overall, the friends lured her into obscene acts. Her parents also affected the relationships she established because they were not there to guide her.

To some extent, they also contributed to inappropriate behavior. However, seeking counselling help also shows the parents affected Dalia’s life positively. All they wanted is their daughter to change, quit alcohol and sexual activities, and return to her curricular activities. Thus, they affected her life positively.

Human/Social Theories

Socio Learning Theory

The theory posits that one can acquire behavior by imitating what others do (Rosenstock, Strecher, & Becker, 1988). In Dalia’s case, she imitated what her friends did and acquired behaviour such as drinking alcohol. As she interacted with them, she learned by observation and perhaps tried doing what she saw afterwards. Finally, she understands the behavior and adopts it.

Self-perception Theory

The theory conceives that we observe ourselves based on how we regard others and conclude our likes and dislikes based on other people’s likes and dislikes (Christoph, Dorothée, & Peter, 2009). In this case, Dalia could have been lured by her friend’s interest in drinking alcohol or engaging in sexual activities and thought of herself doing the same. For instance, perhaps she saw how her friends got happy and high after taking alcohol and imagined herself being high and happy. In the end, she was lured into the behavior.

Using the Assessment to Develop Mutual Goals

To develop mutually-agreed upon goals, I would first offer options for both the Client (Dalia) and the parents. The possibilities would involve what the parents want to be done and what Dalia wants to be done. It will allow the two parties to agree on the options to take. Secondly, since the two parties seem not to agree, I would first reconcile them, especially Dalia and her mother. It will enable them to agree on a common thing that will see both of them satisfied. Thirdly, considering the parents have significantly contributed to the daughter’s ill behavior, I would encourage the parents on good parenthood and improve their contact with Dalia. I would then lastly give Dalia an insight into the benefits of respecting her parents. Through these steps, it would be easy to develop mutual goals, and the Client’s challenges would have been solved.

How I would use the Strengths of the Client in a Treatment Plan

One strength of Dalia is an easy-going person; I will use this trait to make her understand how she is supposed to behave. It will not be challenging to make her accept the goals that will be set. Her second strength is the ability to express herself confidently. This strength will be beneficial as it will enable me to share my treatment options with her, and she will be able to contribute to which options she feels comfortable with and which she does not. Through the expression trait, it will be easier to consider what will work for her.

How I would use Evidence-based Practice

I would consider my previous clients who have had the same presenting issues and identify the options I recommended for their treatment. I will then investigate whether the options worked or not. If they did, I would also recommend the same for Dalia. Although the personality and interests of clients differ, I will adjust the options to fit Dalia’s interests such that she can able to achieve them. Referring to other clients who have had the same issues is crucial because it enables one to identify which strategies work and which do not. Also, it easier not to repeat a weak strategy. Some of the intervention strategies for Dalia’s case may include the following points. One, to alienate herself from friends that lure her into drinking alcohol and sexual activities. Secondly, engage in recreational activities such as her talent for singing. Lastly, always consider spending time with her parents wherever they are around to create a strong bond.

Ethical Issues

One ethical issue, trust, is evident when Dalia’s parents agree to seek the counsellor’s help about Dalia’s condition without Dalia’s consent. Dalia is only astonished when she finds herself in a therapist room. In turn, they both engage in argumentation during the first meeting. It could have been ethical if the parents first agreed with Dalia about seeking help. The second ethical issue is respect. Dalia’s mother is disrespectful to both the therapist and her daughter. When the therapist asks them what they expect of the counselling, she does not answer as expected; instead, she surprisingly says the therapy is for Dalia. She could have ethical and respond clearly to what outcomes she hopes at the end of the treatment.

Cultural Competence Issues

Some of the issues to address under cultural competence are encouraging the parents to consider raising their child in a bit culturally way. It involves showing her the importance of respect to avoid engaging in arguments with authority figures, as the case study points out. Also, to encourage their children to participate in culture-based activities that incorporate people from diverse communities to enhance learning their own culture and that of others. The third issue is about race. Since both parents are from different races, bringing their child in one agreeable race is crucial to avoid mixing up the children. They could do this by employing acculturation, which means adopting the current culture they live in (Teske & Nelson, 1974).  

In summary, the paper has sown that the approach parents take in bringing up their children matters when it comes to those children’s behavior. It is, therefore, imperative to use an approach that will ensure acceptable behavior. The most crucial point to note is spending quality time with children counts in a child’s progress.


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