Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Does age matter?


I'm not sure if I will be able to write about this in my final blog because I doubt there will be very much research mainly due to ethical constraints but I still thought it was an interesting point.

One of my friends who works at an after school care program told me about these two new kids they had. The kids who were 5 and 8 had just been brought to Australia after both parents were killed in Burma. Their new adoptive parents had brought them over here and were beginning to introduce them into the school atmosphere that neither of them had experienced before. They havn't been entered into mainstream school yet and are currently just getting used to being away from their adoptive parents and around other kids. School staff have been briefed on how they can make the transition for these kids as easy as possible.

This just got me thinking whether or not this move would affect them more or less than an adult? On one hand they wouldn't have the same reliance on some of the cultural comforts that adults really miss. And in general kids seem to adapt to new environments pretty quickly (at least from my experience).

However being torn away in what I am presuming to be a fairly traumatic environment and then thrust into a completely different world would cause these kids to withdraw because their lives have been so unpredictable so far and they are cautious around new things and people?

I don't really have the answers to any of these questions but I will try and find some research on it if I can!


Clare said...

Hi Ellen,
Very interesting post. I think (in my opinion) that maybe it would be easier for children than adults or adolescents to adjust to such a horrific life event. Children are extremely resilient and manage to adjust to even highly dramatic changes in their lives. I think if these children receive support, love, guidance and a safe place to rely on then they have a great chance of living a happy life in Australia. For adults their culture, lifestyle and memories will be so strong it would b very difficult to adapt to such a different environment. Having said this, I cant imagine how any one could ever forget such awful events, so this could be a continuous issue for them.
Very though provoking!

Yasuko said...

Hi Ellen
As you mention, it is often said that children adapt to new environments pretty quickly. But I often wonder how true that is. It is not borne out by the experience of my family, because my two sons seem to have struggled with lots of difficulties throughout their early lives after coming to Australia from Japan (they were 7 years old and 5 years old then). So do you have information about what sorts of elements might affect the magnitude of cultural shock for children? e.g. age of arrival in the new environment (the younger the easier?), children’s personality, cultural back-ground, etc. etc.