Many parents, at some point, develop social-cognitive problems. They fail to identify with parenting and instead indulge in their lifestyle rather than progress and become responsible. In such cases, these parents end up risking their children’s lives, forcing them to undergo a painful childhood. When this happens, the oldest child is often forced to take responsibility and play the role of the parent to the younger children. This, from the legal and medical perspective, is ‘abuse’.
Overview of Jerry’s case
It is very difficult to resolve the problem when counseling young teenagers undergoing such tumultuous periods of their lives. The abused child is still vulnerable because he needs parental care more than any sort of support does. In fact, providing support only caters for the physical aspects of the problem while emotionally and morally, this child is nonetheless abused (Quarmby, 1993). He or she is in dire need of a role model whom he or she can trust and emulate.
Identifying with the teenager’s plight can be difficult, although the doctor can approach the child like a parent and allow the child to develop a bond and a subsequent form of partnership or friendship. This way, the doctor is more likely to understand the emotional and moral needs of this abused child, consequently finding a resolve from such a point. On the other hand, how should the counselor tackle the context of irresponsible parents? This should be approached in the most careful manner since the situation may further aggravate the already bad situation and expose the child to dangers of battering and emotional stress. Abusive and uncaring parents should be approached with caution using law enforcement services and related bodies. This should be followed by counseling and corrective measures (Center for Young Women’s Health).
Errors in assessment and diagnosis
The counselor in her part was irresponsible. Unfortunately, the counselor was not aware of the crisis Jerry was in, literally, and only saw the psychological problem that Jerry could be having. She rather expounds the relatively situation as a psychological condition rather than a psychological crisis. Jerry wants out, not therapy. Therapy, arguably cannot induce change of physical settlement, it can only enlighten and correct emotions, feelings and perception.
Therapy in counseling aims at cleaning the mind of the deposited ills and wrong perception and fills it with a positive attitude towards what has been plaguing the mind. A psychological crisis as seen in Jerry’s case is a situation whereby, distress is caused by the prevailing conditions. Jerry is almost a slave and living in deplorable conditions; he has to traverse between household chores and his schooling. While he is aware of his deteriorating academic grades, he is unable to meet his obligation as a learner due to other important issues like taking care of his younger brothers and there is nothing he can do. The source of Jerry’s problem is poor parenting and parental irresponsibility.
The counselor fails to identify this condition and address it professionally. Instead, he does the diagnosis hurriedly. The counselor makes Jerry more aware of his problems rather than help him confront these problems faster, therefore time spent trying to counsel Jerry is no different than exposing the teenager to more abuse and emotional stress; in fact, the therapy only further aggravates Jerry’s frustrated childhood. This teenager is neither depressed nor undergoing any sort of psychological disorder; rather he is confused about why his parents have become such irresponsible adults, and taken up drugs instead of jobs.
Such failures are because of failures on the counselor’s part to adhere or to consult his code of ethics. The code of ethics is a set of instructions. It guides the counselor throughout his career. In fact, it sets in motion the process of diagnosis and arresting a problem. It allows the counselor to identify risks and flaws in each method or approach he adopts in treating a case.
The counselor is unrealistic and has little to offer in therapy and addressing the problem comprehensively. She has spent plenty of time doodling while the teenager was able to reason and come up with a solution to his problems. She has made the decision to report the parents to the police and seek help beyond that point.
The counselor’s input was minimal. Actually, it is not reasonable. In such circumstances, the counselor should consider all ethical considerations and swiftly move to rectify the condition by consulting with authorities about such a serious case of child abuse. In this case, the counselor failed to use her position to influence the child’s future and decisions about his life, in fact, it shows that Jerry was more decisive and focused on his overwhelming plight than listening to the counselor’s rhetoric.
In such cases, a counselor should look into all relevant solutions. He should weigh his options and carefully consult his code of ethics before fully committing into the process of helping the teenager. This process of counseling should be able to address the rising problem comprehensively.
A counselor’s role should go beyond offering psychological solutions to problems: it should be that of a mentor and a person with the ability to seek help regardless of the implications, especially when serious cases like Jerry’s are involved.