The study is aimed at looking at the emotional needs the HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood. An in depth literature study was done and shortcomings have been identified with regard to the HIV/Aids affected child, in specific the experience of the child within the period before the loss of a parent because of HIV/Aids. A number of objectives were set in order to reach the goal of this study. By the consultation of literature and experts working in the field of HIV/Aids affected children in middle childhood, a theoretical framework was set up which included the following aspects: HIV/Aids in Sub Sahara Africa, the impact of HIV/Aids on the South African society, the HIV/Aids infected and –affected child, the impact of HIV/Aids on the family, the psycho social-, emotional- and social development of the child in middle childhood and cultural diversity in South Africa (with specific reference to the coloured culture and counselling for these children). During an empirical study, semi-structured interview techniques were applied as a method for data collection in order to assess the emotional needs of the HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood. Interviews focused on the HIV/Aids child and the following aspects were handled: the child’s wishes at that specific time in life (excluding the parent’s HIV/Aids status), the child’s experience of other’s interest in his own well being, the duration of the child’s knowledge of the parent’s HIV/Aids status, concerning changes (at school or at home) in the life of the child due to the parent’s HIV/Aids status, the child’s future custody and his feelings and ideas about it, individuals whom this child can talk to about his feelings of distress/anger/hurt, the child’s feelings about the knowledge concerning the parent’s HIV/Aids status and the child’s experience of newly acquired responsibilities at home (or towards his siblings) since the parents were HIV/Aids infected. Applied research was undertaken to aid the researcher in enhancing the awareness of professionals in practice with regard to the emotional needs of the affected coloured children in middle childhood. The professionals can then be empowered to understand and handle the problems which can be caused by the unfulfilled emotional needs of the HIV/Aids affected children. A qualitative research approach was used in gathering data, in order to get a full understanding of the emotional needs of the HIV/Aids affected child. A phenomenological strategy within an exploratory study was used aiming to understand and interpret the research question. The research question for this study is: “What are the emotional needs of the HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood?” Empirical data was obtained by means of an interview schedule and verified the following: -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood experiences the need for emotional safety, which is threatened by the knowledge of the possibility of the death of a parent, and insecurity considering their future custody. The child is experiencing a variety of emotions of which bereavement is the most common one. The child’s emotional safety is also threatened by other factors associated with the parent’s HIV/Aids status. -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood expresses the need to debriefing. It is common that these children do not have someone to share emotions with. Proof of above mentioned assumption can be ascribed to three factors namely: the people involved are not aware of the need for debriefing, the perception that it is better for the child not to express their emotions regarding the parent’s HIV/Aids infection and last, the lack of skills on ‘know how’ in approaching and handling this specific situation. -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood experiences intense emotions concerning the parent’s HIV/Aids status whereas bereavement, concern and sympathy are identified. A few of these children are partly in denial about their parents’ HIV/Aids status and claim that the parents will die because of Tuberculoses. A number of these children totally deny the fact that their parents are sick. To assist the child in handling the related emotions and the traumatic situation, it will be beneficial to get therapeutic support. -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood experiences drastic change when the parent’s HIV/Aids status is disclosed, or the moment the child starts to realise that something is wrong. The HIV/Aids parent is concerned about the impact of disclosure on the child and therefore delays this process. When the parent’s HIV/Aids status is disclosed, the child experiences a crisis and does not have the inner strength or required skills to handle his emotions and the situation which he is confronted with. -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood experiences a need for acceptance by peer group members and therefore fear that they will discover their parent’s status. It became clear that in cases where the peers have found out about the HIV/Aids infected parent, their reactions were negative. Because of this, the HIV/Aids affected child experiences anger and grief. -- The HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood experiences a lack of concentration at school, which has a direct negative impact on his school performance. School attendance is also influenced negatively because of the other children’s negative attitude towards them. Seeing that school, as a formal institution, will influence the child’s social-, emotional- and psycho social development, it is of importance that the HIV/Aids affected child is supported in his scholastic functioning. This study exposed the emotional needs of the HIV/Aids affected coloured child in middle childhood which holds possibility for future research. The information collected can be utilized for further studying purposes and the intervention of children in similar situations.
Dissertation (MSD (Play Therapy))--University of Pretoria, 2006.