Claudia is a 13-year old Latino under probation. She undergoes a psychological evaluation, which reveals that she suffered neglect from her teenage mother Jennifer and abuse from her step-father. Having been abandoned by her mother in early childhood, Claudia was brought up by her grandparents and aunt. Although he was initially present in his daughter’s life, Claudia’s father also stayed away from her not long after her birth when he enrolled to serve in the army. She reportedly suffered sexual abuse from her grandfather who used to sneak into her bed at night.
However, her memory is not clear about what happened when her grandfather crept into her bed. Later Claudia was moved, without being consulted, to live with her new Caucasian family after her mother married an older man, Mr. Wellington. Besides being physically abused by her step-father, Claudia is currently pregnant by Wellington junior. She has become promiscuous, even boasting of having multiple and female sex partners. She also feels unaccepted by her peers at the mainly Caucasian schoolmates.
This paper analyzes Claudia’s case with reference to the impact of attachment on her life, factors that have caused her juvenile delinquency, her identity status, and the effect of peer and parental behaviors and relations on her self-esteem. The analysis also focuses on Claudia’s identity and peer statuses and the non-sexual factors that influenced her sex acting and early sexual engagement. Impact of Attachment on Claudia’s Life As a child and as an adolescent, Claudia has faced different types of attachment from her family and loved ones.
While she has been detached from her biological mother for long; she has been more closely attached to her aunt Veronica and her grandparents, Maria and Frank. Although she stays with her mother and the Wellingtons, Claudia is largely detached from her new family. Her peers also attempt to ignore her, especially in her current adolescence and high school age. The various types of attachment Claudia has experienced have had different impacts on her relationships, feelings, and life.
As a result of detachment from her mother and the fact that only her grandparents cared for her, Claudia suffered delays in achieving her developmental milestones. For instance, she started walking at sixteen months and spoke her first words at the age of two and half years. Fortunately, her grandparents and father Richard were present in her life and spent time with Claudia during her infancy. The apparent lack of attachment and support from Jennifer made Claudia become a rather difficult child who could not be easily put on a schedule.
Whereas Jennifer was responsible and loving, she was always overwhelmed and stressed much of the time, affecting Claudia’s upbringing as her Jennifer opted to manage her stress by partying, leaving the baby under the care of her grandparents and Aunt Veronica, Jennifer’s older sister. When her mother left for New Jersey, while Claudia appeared unaffected by Jennifer’s absence, the impact was evident in her being exceedingly talkative, angry, and distant. In fact, whenever she became angry, she would fume and become delirious for hours.
Also, as a result of anger and frustrations that marred her childhood, especially after her mother left, Claudia would take revenge on any transgression from others. Factors Related to Juvenile Delinquency From the case study, it is revealed that Claudia is currently under formal probation. Several factors may have resulted in Claudia being arrested several times for crimes such as shoplifting, not attending school, and residential burglary. First, when her mother left, Claudia became angry and vengeful to all the transgressions she might have suffered.
Consequently, her grandparents became aloof, frustrated, and allowed her to do whatever she wished. As a result of the freedom to do whatever she wished, Claudia could not keep up in class and managed to pick up bad habits that would later transform into criminal acts such as shoplifting and burglary. Claudia’s delinquent behaviors may have also been caused by the fact that she was surrounded by people with somehow immoral behaviours. For instance, at some point in her childhood, her grandfather would sneak into her bed at night. She also lost her virginity to her step-brother, Wellington Junior.
Also, her step-father was rather cruel to her and used to spank and bruise her. These cruelties and immoral behaviors from her family may have prompted her picking of violent and delinquent behaviors. It is evident that whenever grandparents, parents, and siblings fail to portray high moral standard in their behaviors or routinely engage in criminal acts and omissions, younger people are highly likely to be motivated to pick up such delinquent tendencies (Altholz & Salemo, 2016). Thus, lack of social and moral training may have caused Claudia’s delinquent behaviors.
Claudia’s delinquent behaviors may also be an indication of her rebellion against her mother and foster father. For instance, when she moved to New Jersey to live with the Wellingtons, she was angry that she had not been consulted. Such anger often translates into rebellion and delinquent behaviors in adolescents (Wood & Miller, 2016). Marcia’s Theory of Identity Statuses According to Marcia’s theory of identity statuses, every child passes through various statuses to develop into adults with specific social and psychological traits.
At the earliest status of identity formation, the identity diffusion phase, Claudia had no idea about who she was and had weak opinions, desires, or dreams for the future. At this status, an individual does not really care or know what they want but also lacks interest in undertaking any experimentations or adventures into the surrounding world. Additionally, during such periods, an individual always feels lonely and considers the world to be a creepy and an unfriendly place (Wood & Miller, 2016).
In Claudia’s case, she must have been at this status when her mother used to party, leaving her under the care of her aunt and grandparents and when Jennifer left for New Jersey. Marcia’s second status of identity formation is the foreclosure status during which an individual has commitments to beliefs and a future but lacks the drive to explore the available options. At this status, an individual has strong beliefs in particular ideas pertaining to religion or politics. However, these ideas are never really questioned or examined critically.
At this status, parents or family may choose a career, home, or school for a child who may simply comply since it is what is expected of him or her. At the foreclosure status, children do things unquestioningly and simply because their families want them to. Marcia’s third stage of identity development is called moratorium, the reverse of the foreclosure. People make commitments after experimenting with and critically thinking about ideas and options. Every suggested and new identities and beliefs are tried, albeit without success at finding anything new, satisfying, or appeasing.
The fourth status in Marcia’s theory of status development is the identity achievement phase at which an individual, mostly an adolescent, has successfully undergone an identity crisis and has finally committed to a specific sense of identity. Claudia undergoes quite many identity crises, especially when she goes to live with Mr. Wellington’s Caucasian family and attends a class in which she was the only person of color. At the achievement status, an individual has committed to a specific role, responsibility, or values in society.
How Parental and Peer Behavior Relate To Adolescent Self-Esteem In this case study, Claudia has a rather low self-esteem, which makes her feel disconnected from and unwanted by her peers, especially at her high school. The relationship between her and her step-father also contributes to Claudia’s low self-esteem, which she compensates for by engaging in delinquent behaviors such as burglary, drug and substance abuse, and sexual promiscuity. Evidently, Claudia’s parents’, grandparents’ and peers’ behaviors and their interactions with her have greatly influenced her self-esteem.
Right from her childhood, her mother’s absence negatively affected her self-esteem since the mother was constantly way partying. Her low self-esteem may be traced to her childhood when her mother left for New Jersey while her father left to join the army. During this period, Claudia became angry, distant, and withdrawn. Evidences show that immoral behaviors by parents and peers have bad influences on adolescents’ self-esteem and confidence. In Claudia’s case, she remembers her grandfather sneaking into her bed early in life, a memory that has bad influence on her self-esteem as she imagines what might have happened.
Claudia’s self-esteem is also negatively affected by the fact that most of her peers ignore her and often reject her whenever she attempts to initiate contact. Such rejection behaviors by peers really hurt adolescents’ self-esteem and confidence. On the contrary, her peers’ influence her to engage in promiscuous behaviors such as sexual encounters with both males and females and multiple sex partners, about which she is quite boastful. Non-sexual Motives and Factors Influencing Claudia’s Sexual Behaviors and Early Sex Several reasons underlie Claudia’s sexual behaviors.
First, neglect from her family and loved ones may have propelled her to engage in early sex and sexual interactions with her step brother. In addition, childhood experiences such as suspected sexual interactions with her grandfather, who used to sneak into her bed in the past, may have impacted on her attitude towards sex. Thus, such depressing experiences may have dented Claudia’s perceptions about sex. Claudia’s indulgence in drug and substance abuse also predisposes her to risky sexual conduct, especially as a result of peer pressure.
Such high-risk behaviors have indeed greatly made Claudia take up activities such as multiple sex partners. Generally, parents, peers, and other forms of pressure are the key factors contributing to early sex in adolescents (Carlucci & Golom, 2016). Claudia’s early engagement in sex may have been occasioned by certain factors. From the case study, it is apparent that Claudia’s nature and pattern of associations across genders pressured her into the various sexual activities and acting out, especially multiple sex partners, sex with other females, early sex, and sexual interactions with her step-brother.
A factor that may have prompted her early engagement in sex is the drive to prove her maturity. The other factors that may influence early sex in adolescents are media, social media, schools, communities, and family dynamics (Girvan & Marek, 2016). Like other teenagers, Claudia most likely obtained information about sex from her friends but not from her parents and grandparents. Although she might have had the desire to get the information from her parents and grandparents, her parents were constantly absent from her life.
For Claudia, estrangement at home has evidently resulted in her establishing sexual relationships outside the confines of her family. She thus sought solace, warmth, and support from outside her home. Sexual abuse from family members also contributes to early sexual acting by adolescents (Carlucci & Golom, 2016). Claudia’s Gender Identity Claudia’s life and experiences are not unique to her since many adolescents undergo the same stages in life. As she grew in the absence of her mother and with the Wellingtons, Claudia started to question the meaning of her gender and sexual orientations.
In fact, Claudia’s gender identity issues became more complex when she reported having had sexual intercourse with her step-brother and other women. Thus, the initial phase of Claudia’s sexual and gender development was the establishment of her gender identity. Thus, Claudia has to grapple with what it means to be part of the female gender. On her sexual orientation, Claudia is not alone or different in having sexual relationship with other women. Other teenagers also struggle with their gender identity and sexual orientation.
While she is interested in boys amongst her peers, she also admits having sexual relationship with other women. It is normal that Claudia has experienced the springing up of various sexual feelings in her adolescence. In fact, sexuality and sexual orientation is currently a key component of her life, evidenced by boasting that she has multiple sexual partners. Claudia’s Peer Status Category As an adolescent, Claudia’s peer status is characterized by various types of relationships, friendships, social, cultural, and economic problems, and behaviors.
The case study indicates that Claudia has adjustment problems at the age of 13 when she has to move in and live with the Wellingtons, a process that must has interfered with her social stability since she had to restart her social networking activities to have new friends at school and from within her new community. She has to make new social connections across peers of different ages, genders, ethnicity, and parents. Also, Claudia’s patterns and quality of peer relationships, friendships, and behaviors at the age of 13 largely influenced and predicted her relationships and behavioral problems.
Claudia may be said to belong to the sociometric peer status category. At this peer status, an adolescent or a child seeks to be liked and noticed by his or her peers. Evidently, Claudia would like attention and acceptance from her schoolmates and the Wellingtons who, unlike her, are Caucasians. She needs more than mere friendships. The sociometric categories by which Claudia’s peer status can be described are her perception of her popularity, rejection by peers, neglect, and controversies.
To Claudia, sociometric status is essential since her peer relationships are useful in her social and emotional development. Claudia’s rather controversial nature stems from her aggressive sexual and non-sexual behaviors, which may be attributed to having been neglected by her mother. However, she would like to compensate for her aggressive behaviors by yearning for acceptance that may make her acquire positive social behaviors. Claudia’s sociometric status is also attributed to the neglect and poor relations she had with her family, especially her mother and step-father.