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Developmental And Environmental Influences

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The way we develop biophysically can be from physical or biological aspects. I just recently turned 22 and I’m half Mexican and half white. My mom when pregnant with me was healthy and she didn’t have any complications. She didn’t smoke or drink while pregnant and wasn’t around it either. I was a healthy baby girl, biologically I hit all the major milestones as a toddler such as learning to walk and talk. Even though I knew how to talk when I was younger I had a speech problem, I had speech therapy for about a year. My physical health at 15 wasn’t that great because of my stomach problems. I started having really bad stomach pains and they went misdiagnosed until senior year of high school, which was when it was the worst, it ended up being my gallbladder it was then removed. Still to this day I have stomach problems which somedays it is easier to handle and other days it causes me uncomfortable pain. I don’t have a relationship with my real dad because he left when I was a baby so I don’t really know that side of my family’s genetic history. If I end up having something that is genetic that doesn’t run on my mom’s side of my family it will be safe to assume, I got it from my real dad’s side.

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On my mom’s side of the family history, breast cancer does run in my family. My mom died from a different cancer than that, so I could one day get it just like she did which is a tough thing to have to confront. The cancer she died from was pancreatic cancer which has a small survival rate. Though I do have stomach problems for the most part I have a good general health. Psychologically mental illness does run in my family they include depression, bi-polar disorder and anxiety which is something I do have. Having anxiety often times affects my stomach problems which then gets to be a battle psychologically. It’s often hard to understand whether or not my anxiety is acting up because of my stomach problems, or if my stomach problems are acting up because of my anxiety. The environmental aspect that I think that has affected my anxiety is having tough life experiences as a young kid. According to the text a “Client’s experiences of life events” (Ashford & Lecroy, 2013, p. 27) can be something that affect us psychologically such as a loved one passing away, which is something I have experienced plenty of times. “The social worker’s assessment extends beyond the biological and psychological dimensions to include social dimensions” (Ashford & Lecroy, 2013, p. 27).

Socially some of those aspects include family, and when it comes to my family I’m very sociable I have a close relationship with them. When it comes to friends growing up I didn’t have really any. It wasn’t until 2nd grade that I got my first close friends because that’s when I got held back, which wasn’t for anything other than the fact that I had trouble making friends. Even now I can sometimes have trouble being social, but I have gotten better even though I have social anxiety. I’m introverted and definitely enjoy my alone time, but I also enjoy human interaction I just have to reenergize by myself. Culturally I grew up in the small farming community of Pine Bluffs, which is about 30-40 minutes away from Cheyenne and 20-30 minutes away from Kimball, Nebraska. Of course it was a predominately white community. I do have Polish in me however not sure how much that is, I didn’t really adopt any of that culture. I have uncles who are Mexican that are married into my family. So I did grow up hearing Mexican music, and eating common Mexican foods like tamales, pozole, sopa, and, Mexican rice and many other things like Mexican candy. I even grew up sorting beans to make refried beans and I’ve even been to Mexico.

I was a part of my cousin Veronicas quinceañera. So while my real dad wasn’t around growing up, I was still able to be immerged into that aspect of my culture, which I am really appreciative of despite not always feeling like I was Mexican enough. I don’t speak Spanish and don’t know my Mexican dad’s side of my cultural background. Culturally I appreciate the cultural lifestyles I’ve gotten to experience. Spiritually when I was 7 years old I had my baptism through the catholic church, and I had my first communion when I was a little older than that and finally I had my confirmation at 13 with my cousin because she needed it for her quinceañera. I even went to a few youth groups from different churches in my hometown like the Methodist church, which is where my mom decided to have her funeral. While I never really questioned my belief in god until my mom got sick, it made me realize that I’m not religious. I respect people’s right to being religious. In other words even though I don’t want to be defined by whether or not I believe in God, I guess I’m what you call agnostic.

All of these characteristics of my identity have provided me with opportunities and barriers. The opportunities include being able to explore who I am as a person in all those aspects. Another opportunity these characteristics have provide me with is learning how to be as open minded as I can possibly be. Barriers, there are a few that I’ve experienced that mostly comes from the cultural aspect of my life, another barrier would by my anxiety. Learning how to live with it can be a struggle that affects me as a person. The life course that I’m a part of currently is young adulthood. I’ve gone through the stages of newborn, infant, early childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence. Landing me here at the stage of young adulthood because I am 22 years old. Young adulthood “spans the ages of 22 to 34 years” (Ashford& Lecroy, 2013, p. 491). When it comes to young adulthood people tend to think of marriage and kids, that isn’t something I think about quite yet. I’m just focused on my education and future career.

A little snippet in the book from someone by the name of Kristen talks about how “When our mothers were our age, they were engaged… they at least had some idea what they were going to do with their lives” while I know what I’m going to do with my life I’m not engaged, so it really does show how young adulthood has changed for each generation (Arnett 2000, p. 491). According to exhibit 10. 1 based on Levinson’s theory of adult development when you are from the ages of 17 to 22 you “leave adolescence; make preliminary choices for adult life, then from 22 to 28 we have “initial choice in love, occupation, friendship, values, lifestyle” which for me personally fits into my life as a young adult (Ashford &Lecroy, 2013, p. 492). The values I have include treating people with human decency. Other values I have include trust, and honesty. I value close relationships with people, because I have that with my family and friends. I value respect in giving it and receiving it. I also value personal responsibility and diversity. I feel as if most of my values come from my family because I look up to them. They’ve never taught me anything but great values throughout my life and even in the future I know my values are going to come in part of them and from my career as a social worker. Growing up for the first six almost seven years of my life my suprasystem included my mom, and my three older siblings, one brother and two sisters.

Then when I was 7 my mom got married so then my suprasystem changed from just my mom and 3 older siblings to include my stepdad and little brother my mom and stepdad had together. After she died and my 3 older siblings left the house it was my stepdad, younger brother and me. My siblings, my mom, and my stepdad are some of my subsystems, and they have changed over the years. I now have three nephews and that’s another subsystem in my family. According to the article Families as Systems “research on siblings provides further evidence that patterns of functioning within one family subsystem are related in systematic ways to functioning within other subsystems” (Cox& Paley, 1997). My relationships with my siblings as a subsystem is one of importance especially since our mom died years ago. Our subsystem as siblings I think helped us with the fact that our parent subsystem changed first when our mom got married, but also when she died. Choosing two groups and organizations influential in my life was hard considering our family and friends didn’t count. I’m not much of a joiner, so the two that I chose are Casper College, and University of Wyoming.

Casper College has been an important part of my life for 3 years and now University of Wyoming at Casper is going to be just as important. So the group in this year’s social work program is one that is going to be influential in my life since we’re all trying to achieve the goal of becoming social workers. There have been a lot of major events that have happened in the larger environment that have been influential to my life, here are three of them. The first one I thought of was the Sandy Hook shooting. Another major event I think of is when DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) was going to be revoked for people based on Trump’s decision. DACA is a program where children and young adults were protected from deportation. The third major event that has influenced me is the legalization of marijuana, I think it should be legalized first and foremost for medicinal reasons and then for recreational use. According to an article “parental drug use is identified as a risk factor for multiple negative developmental outcomes for children” (Bountress & Chassin, 2015).

As a future social worker I know how important the development of children is and how a parent who uses any type of drug can affect them. Which makes me battle with my beliefs on thinking marijuana should be legalized in my personal life and professional life. The article also states that the best way to face it would be that “agencies should update or revise their policies, reporting laws, and staff training to best serve families with a parent who uses marijuana” (Bountress & Chassin, 2015). So as long as whatever agency I might work at, has a policy that can lead me in the right direction that fits with my personal beliefs and professional beliefs it would hopefully make them coincide together easier. These events have changed my world view because they have all showed me where America is currently. I realize that one school shooting is one to many, and that undocumented immigrants still deserve respect. I also realize that the legalization of marijuana in certain states isn’t going to make my job as a future social worker any easier. In my life I have experienced all types of diversity. Personally my family is diverse itself.

My grandma had 10 children including my mom, and the youngest three of them are half Mexican. I have 3 uncles who are married into the family who are also Mexican. So I have cousins who are half Mexican like me. My siblings are white because of our mom and their dads. Two of my cousins are half Chinese, and three of my younger cousins are half black and of course my cousins’ wife is as well. So growing up in a diverse family has helped me to be open minded to diversity. While for the most part I personally haven’t had to face discrimination too much, I do see how people view my uncles in America just based on the fact that they are Mexican. Though I haven’t faced many discriminating moments personally, I have seen comments online talking about how if you’re Mexican in anyway and you don’t speak Spanish that it is shameful or something along those lines. Never quite felt like I was Mexican enough, and not white enough. In my friend group I am obviously the minority, but gladly I haven’t felt that in my life too much. I don’t really think about it when it comes to me too much, but when it comes to other people I do.

Knowing people are being discriminated against based on their culture or color of their skin has affected me personally, and I know it will professionally as well The strengths that I think I have are that I’m strong-willed, resilient, and I try to be understanding and open minded as much as possible and I try to see all sides of a topic. I think some of my weaknesses are that I’m pretty introverted, which has ruined a lot of experiences for me. Even though sometimes I can be outgoing when I need to be it’s hard sometimes. Just answering one question in class will make my heart beat super-fast like its jumping out of my chest. I’m pretty cynical considering things in my life haven’t always been easy. Another weakness I have is that I’m passive aggressive I’m not always so good at confronting what needs to be confronted. Human interaction isn’t always easy for me, which sounds weird considering that’s what being a social worker is about, is being interactive with other humans. My plan for addressing my limitations is by facing them to the best of my abilities no matter how hard it may be to push through.

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