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Positive Development after a rough start. Daniela reimer , university of Siegen. Difficult start negative development not surprising Good start negative development what parents usually try to avoid , but usually don‘t know how to avoid
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Positive Development after a roughstart Daniela reimer, universityof Siegen
Difficultstart negative development not surprising • Goodstart negative development whatparentsusuallytrytoavoid, but usuallydon‘tknowhowtoavoid • Difficultstart positive development surprising
Resilienceresearch Crucialquestions (I) Whatisresilience? Whencanyousaysomeoneis „resilient“?
Resiliencerequiresexposuretosignificantrisk, overcomingriskoradversity, andsuccessthatisbeyondpredictedexpectations.“ Richman & Fraser (2001:6)
Crucialquestions (II) Whatconstitutessignificantrisk? Whatconstitutessuccesfuloutcomesbeyondpredictedexpectations?
Resilience in Foster Children – A qualitative PErspective • Biograficalinterviewswithyoungadultswhohadbeen in foster care • Narrative follow upinterviews 4-8 yearslater • Narrative approach: whatkindofstories do theytellabouttheirlifes • What do wegettoknowthroughthestoriesabout • Theirobjectivelifeprobation? • Theirsubjectivewellbeing?
Martina – a casestory Growingupwiththebiologicalmother. Twoyoungersiblings, motherisalcoholanddrugaddicted,father absent Martina repeats a grade in schoolanddecidestoleavesschool. Beingunemployed, laterperiodofpracticalwork, continuingschool Adoptivfatherhascancer, he dies abouttwoyearslater Access torecordsat theChildProtectionService Contactwithbirrthfamily Martina movestotherfirst flat with her boyfriend 2nd schoolenrolment A level;startinghighereducation School enrolment 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 Martina comesto her 4th Foster Family, later on thatfamily will adopt her Home birthofthe 4th child, Martina assists Martina comesto her 3rd Foster Family Martina entersresidential care 1st Foster Family Martina comesto her grandparents 2nd Foster Family Martina comesto her uncleandaunt
Resilience in Martina‘slife • First yearsarecharacterizedbyadversity: neglect, violence, parent‘sabsence, high levelsofdiscontinuity; in residential care: behaviourproblems • In the 4th fosterfamily: a processstarts
CHARacteristicsoftheprocess The familyisMartina‘sfamilyofchoice; possibilitiesforformingeverydaylifetogetherPARTICIPATIONFoster parentstake an unconditionaldecisionfortherelationship; parentsadopt Martina, Martina adopts her parents, therelationshipis not seriouslyendangeredbyfights, bothsidesareawareofit(!), theycelebratetogethersuccess (Martina‘s A level), andgrieftogether;parentsareproudof Martina SECURITY; CONTINUITY; Parentsarechildcentered & support Martina makingfriendshipsanddevelopinginterestsandhobbys;friendships, interestsandfutureplansare not endangeredby Martina leavingschoolwithoutdegree FUTURE PERSPECTIVES, INTERESTS & FRIENDSHIPS (nurturedduringonedecade) Martina andparentsareagainandagainabletodevelop alternative ways : therapyandperiodofpracticalworkinsteadofschool; living apart toavoiddailyescalation FLEXIBILITY Parentssupport Martina in her contactwiththebirthfamily, Martina isabletorecognise her needforknowingmoreabout her roots OPENESS; UNDERSTANDING THE NEEDS
Seven yearslater – second interview – First insights • Objectivelifeprobation: Graduatedfromuniversity; qualifiedfull time employment; establishedrelationship • Subjectiveperspective:satisfiedwithlife; positive futureexpectation; but awareofchallenges (currentandahead) „wellit‘sdifficult“:decisionstotakeaboutfounding a familiy/ desirefor a child; gettingalongwith in-laws; gettingalong at work; supporting her elderlyfostermother; balancing her desireforcontactwith her familyofbirth Resilienceand well-beingischallenged
Conclusions • The meaning of participation and continuity for foster children as well as helpful adult – child relationships, even beyond the official end of foster care proofs to be outstanding • BUT: Not standing alone • Participation, continuity and helpful adult-child relationships are embedded in a whole bunch of interacting processes which are characterized by openness, flexibility, understanding for each other’s need, continuity in other life domains (interests, friendships, future plans), success at school, developing a realistic picture of the foster family & of the birth family, allowing ambivalences, reconciliation and acceptance of the own biography, finding ways for a mature relationship, balancing proximity and distance • Resilience Research gains “nuances” from qualitative research
Contact Daniela Reimer, Dipl. Päd.; University of Siegen/ ZPE, Germany Mail: email@example.com