Social Development of Children Living with Mentally

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There are four major socialisation agents that will determine the development trends of any child. The family is the major socialisation agent for any child. The parents model the child during their formative developmental stages. Research on how the influence of the mental health status of the parents can be contained from influencing the personality of a child is therefore long overdue.

This paper seeks to identify the extent and the frequency of influence of the mental illness of parents on the self esteem, social identity and the social relationship of a child. The paper attains this objective through a qualitative research undertaken. The paper finds a positive correlation between the aforementioned aspects; hence due leverage for the research course. The paper then makes recommendations that it does deem salient that would be incidental in alleviating the state.


4.0 Research Findings and Discussions

4.1 Introduction

This chapter undertakes a thorough analysis of the research findings that were gathered via the research instruments. The data collected is analysed using charts and a summarizing statement given thereto and relative to the research hypothesis, research question and the purpose of this research. Clearly, in one way or other, the mental health of a parent or parents have an effect on the self esteem, social relation and the social identities of the children.



4.2 Analysis of the findings

4.2.1 The Effect of Mentally Challenged Parents on the Self Esteem of Children

The self worth of any child seems to be largely hampered in circumstances where the parents have some mental challenges. The research showed that those children who have parents with mental challenges tend to avoid having friends or even for those who had friends they had the least preference having them come visiting.

Children with parents who have mental challenges are not readily appreciated by the parents. Or at the very worst, the children are admonished by the parents. This makes the children have a feeling of their self worth being lowered or lacking at all. When the children were asked about whether they are appreciated by their parents, most of them felt that their parents never showed their appreciation for their worth.


Children with parents who have mental illnesses are not adequately appreciated by their parents. According to skinner, this affects the overall self esteem of an individual. Appreciating the child makes the child to feel being worth.

Most of the parents with mental challenges tend to use derogatory statements on their children. This makes the children have a feeling of a lowered self esteem. Parents who have mental challenges use words such as ‘stupid’, ‘lazy’ among a host of others indiscriminately. This tends to utterly lower the self esteem of the children.



The chart shows that children whose parents are mentally challenged are prone to reproach and chide. Basically, a combination of these makes the children feel devoid of any self worth.

4.2.2 The Effect of Mentally Challenged Parents on the social relationship of Children

When children with parents with mentally illnesses were asked about whether their friendship was affected by the fact that they parents had mental challenges, a large proportion of the children agreed that they had opted not to have friends because of the conditions of their parents.


The reason for which the children may not invite friends to their homes is because they tend to feel that if their friends visited and noted the condition of their parents their self worth would be lowered and demeaned.

The evaluation of the self worth of any individual is always based on the friends and the family of any individual. It is, perhaps, for this reason that most of the children with parents who have mental incapacity have to avoid having their friends to come and visit them.

The children who had mentally ill parents also showed dissatisfaction over the need for their friends visiting. The children thought that perhaps if their friends new about their parents, their self worth would be undermined. Overall, this has an effect on the social prospects of the children. This also contributes to the fact that most of the children who come from such families will avoids going out for social functions. The feeling is that they will be the object of reproach.

It is evident from the data that children whose parents have mental challenges will do anything to avoid social events and joints. The reason is that they feel that they may be the area of focus for their peers.

4.2.3 The Effect of Mentally Challenged Parents on the social identity of Children

Any child will always feel safe being identified with their parents. If the child is separated from their parents, the children seem to feel as being robbed of their social identity. The children who had been separated from their parents felt as missing something when they were separated from their parents.

In affirming this, the research showed that children who had parents with mental illnesses were more likely to spend their time for schooling at home to take care of their parents. Within the mindset of these children they

It is evidently clear that children whose parents have mental challenges will do anything for their parents with the presumption that they may get well and reduce their social stigma. It is from the stigmatizing experience that these children have that they will always feel empathetic for anybody with mental disability.

The data collected concerning the empathetic behaviour of the children adduced this assertion. The children whose parents have mental illnesses have increased empathy to the mentally challenged persons because they have had a real touch of how it feels being parented by such parents and have the least wish that anybody else does.

This chapter gives sufficient evidence that the self esteem, the identity and the socialisation prospects of any child whose parents are mentally ill will always be affected. This affects the approach of any child towards the way the child interacts with others and the learning process.


5.0 Summary Conclusion, Discussion, Recommendation and Implication Summary

5.1 introductions

The parent child relationship, according to Uysal, is distressed if the parents have mental illness. According to Nicholson et al, Parent-child relationships are frequently distressed because mentally ill parents have very poor nurturing capabilities and this tampers a blow on the social development of the children. In addition, parents who had mental illnesses are seen as less concerned with the sociability of their children.

This study brings out clearly the effects that the trauma of having a parent who is mentally ill will have on any child. Given that the self esteem is a very cardinal aspect in the learning and the socialisation prospects of any child, this study is in all aspects justifiable. The concentration of the learner will always be hampered if the learner feels that his/her self esteem is low or if he feels his identity is threatened.

The study had sought to identify the effects of the mentally ill parents on their children’s social relationship. Clearly from the gathered data, it can be inferred that children whose parents are ill will prefer being alone. Where they make efforts to socialise, they tend to avoid having their friends meet with their parents.

5.2 Discussions

The research also had a cardinal purpose of identifying the effects of the mentally ill parents on the self esteem of the children. Because the research does show that mentally ill parents rarely appreciate their children, it is indicative that the children will tend to feel less acknowledged. Acts such as the embrasure of children lacks in such families; yet this gesture is a show of appreciation of the children. The absence of this gesture makes the child feel that his self esteem is low.

The paper had another central objective of finding the correlation between the mental illness of parents and the social identity of the children. The children with parents who had mental challenges were found to be making all the efforts to avoid social places with their peers. This hampers the sociability of the child. Given that the research addresses these salient aspects, it inherently validates its purpose.

The study had three research questions that were meant to be answered by the end of the research. The research ardently answers the three research questions that centrally guided the research. The three questions were effectively addressing the issue of the influence of parenting on the personality of the child.

It is very apparent that children whose parents are mentally ill have lower levels of socialisation. The children tend to do this because they feel having mentally ill parents is more of a social weakness or at most this condition will be equally attributed to them. This makes the children avoid in total or in part social places.  It is resultant from this that the children whose parents were mentally ill would not invite their friends to their homes, neither would they freely go out with their friends.

The children believe that if they go out with their peers, they would simply end up being subjects of discussion and scoff for their peer because of the condition of their parents. While the peers may not be aware of the conditions of their parents, the child’s subconscious convinces them that the peers are in fact aware of the conditions of their parents.

Once the children get used to avoiding their peers and social places, this affect their social relationship and equally their personality. Overall, the social development of the children is dully affected and equally affects the learning process of the children. There should be alternative ways of averting this scenario to avoid ugly personality traits resultant from this parental influence.

The evaluation of the self is normally based on how the other people evaluate the child. This starts with the parents. In cases where the parents are not able to fully appreciate the parents because of their mental illness, the child’s self esteem remain low through their life. Brem et al argue that self esteem is based both on the self and the group. Hence, if the group creates a negative impression of the child, the child feels that his worth is low.

Parents, in this context, who are not able to appreciate their children make the children feel unworthy and hence the lack of self esteem. In retrospect, parents who are mentally ill may not appreciate their children. Though the child might understand that the parent is mentally ill, it affects the child in the long run. Some of the parents who are mentally ill are recorded as having the least mode of appreciation for their children even when they do the right thing.

Mentally ill parents, the research gathers, more often reprimand their children and names call them. This makes the child live with the feeling of being unappreciated.  In addition, the children tend to end up believing that the only way out was reprimand and abuses.  Children who have the least worth directly make them feel as having the lowest self esteem. In this way, the research adequately answers the second research question on whether having mentally ill children will affect one’s self esteem.

The research equally reveals that while some of the children may not want their friends to come visiting because they do not want them to understand the condition of their parents, the children will do anything for their parents to have them recuperate. This implies that the role of the parents, despite being mentally ill, is highly appreciated by the child. The child makes efforts to stay home with the parent with a presumption that the parents may just get well.

The research also reveals that children whose parents are mentally ill have high degree of empathy than those who do not have such parents. It is apparent that children who have gone through these experiences understand the plight of those in this condition and would not wish that anyone else be in such a condition. This act of being empathetic has an effect on the personality traits of the child; hence the condition makes the sociability of the child exclusive.

The children whose parents are mentally ill also tend to feel low about their own social identity. Given that the mentally ill parents look less accommodating, the children tend to also limit their perception of others. Subsequently, they end up having accommodation of other people, particularly their peers. The lack of accommodation would be evidenced through the fact that such parents appreciate their children neither do they embrace.

During the early years of development the reinforcement of the children behaviour is of central vitality; hence ignoring this centrality just deals a blow on the personality of the child. Through the address of these salient issues, the research answers the third question which seeks to find the correlation between a child’s personality and the mental health of their parents.

The study makes the hypothesis inherent in the research alternative. In deed, the presence of mentally ill members of the family deals a blow on the social and personality development of the child. The social relationship, the self esteem and the social identity of the child is negatively impacted on with this phenomenon.

The methodology used in the research was interviews and the use of questionnaires. The data collected was analysed using qualitative methods that yielded results that were sufficiently indicative of the fact that the there was indeed an empirical relationship between the personality of a child and the mental wellbeing of the parents. While the method would have lend itself to a number of bias, the results were quite representative of the ideal state.

The bias was relatively low given that only those who had interacted with children in such circumstances were sampled to complete the questionnaires or to be interviewed. Given that the children who were in this condition were given the first priority, the research reduced any biases considerably.

The sampling procedure was multifaceted; randomised and then stratified. This further reduced the bias as mentioned above. The respondents were given a period of two weeks to ensure they had ample time within which the questionnaires would be completed. Those who were interviewed, selected randomly, were give a formally appointment to avoid cases of ambush.

The research’s reliability was ascertainable as the research instrument used were only destined to adduce whether mental illness of parents had any effect on the self esteem, the social identity and the social relationship of their children. Clearly, the research was very specific on what it was destined to determine. In addition, the strategies of the research were developed to ensure that under similar research objective(s) and research question(s), the research would yield similar results.

Given the tidal role of personality in the teaching learning and development processes, the research reliability was treated in high esteem. A high protocol of the research was therefore upheld. This was meant to ensure that anyone who had the interest of determining the reliability of the research was dully satisfied with the research outcome under similar research questions and objectives.

The research’s validity was measurable through the research’s central object of establishing the correlation, if any, between a child’s self esteem, social identity and social relationship and the mental wellbeing of the parents. The research instruments remained geared toward adducing this correlation.

The efficacy of the applicability of the finding from the research to other cases external to this research was also informative of the research’s validity. The research’s construct validity sufficed the research’s central object. Resultant, the research found due leverage for further research and follow-ups on the findings.

5.3 Recommendations

This research finds sufficient correlation between the state of health (mental) of the parents and the personality development traits. Traits such as self esteem, self identity and social relation are determined through the way the parents interact with their children. Clearly, parents who have mental illnesses have exclusive interaction with their children hence affecting the sociability of the children. The following recommendations are worth adoption in such circumstances.

Children whose parents are in acute mental illness condition would be separated from them early enough before they start sensing the parental shortfalls. This would assists in averting cases of children loosing their personal esteem resulting from parental reprimands.

If the parents happen to lose their mental capacity when the children are of age, the children should be separated from their parents before their personality gets devastated. Where the children are so attached to the parents to be separated, the children should be offered frequent guidance and counselling to ensure their self esteem, social identity and social relationships are not affected.

5.4 Implication for Future Research

It is apparent that however strong the child may be, there is a reasonable level of damage the mental illness of the parent has on the self esteem, social identity and social relationship of any child. Future research therefore has much on its account that would be done if the state has to be alleviated.

Most importantly, future researches need to seek to find means and ways through which the parents can appreciate their children even when they are mentally ill. This would assist boost the self esteem of the children whose parents have mental illnesses.

Future research should also seek the best counselling methods that would have the children with mentally ill parents remain socially sober despite the reprimand and the lack of appreciation from the parents.  This will assist the children socialise positive regardless of the mental state of their parents. Overall, this will assist develop the right personality traits amongst the children.