Extreme trauma of forced separation of children from their parents
Reports and criticism of the zero tolerance policy of forced separation of children from their parents at border crossings do not emphasize enough the psychological impact and emotional devastation caused by the trauma in the children who witness their parents being forcibly taken away from them.
Some Russian war movies have depicted scenes of children being forcibly separated from their parents by German SS soldiers.
The Bucharest Early Intervention Project that studied 136 abandoned infants and toddlers who wound up in orphanages in Romania in 2000 pointed out some of the psychological effects of the toddlers’s trauma of abandonment, including traumatic bereavement, profound anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, separation anxiety, callous indifference for feelings of others, less impulse control, increased tendency towards delinquent behavior. Those placed in institutions for two years showed less electrical activity of the brain and reduction in grey matter.
[Master Chen says]
Not many psychiatric studies have been done on the impact of forced separation of children from their parents as the children watch their parents struggle while being taken away.
Extreme trauma is shown on the faces of the parents and on the faces of the crying children. It is total emotional devastation.
This reminds me of the emotional devastation displayed by a boy, running after his father while his father walks to the family car parked in the driveway, getting ready to drive to work, leaving his son alone at home.
I will never forget the traumatic bereavement of the boy at that instant, the anxiety of separation, the helplessness of the boy realizing that he is being abandoned and left alone at home, and the dread of being abandoned and being engulfed in extreme loneliness.
Forced separation of children from their parents as the children watch their fathers and mothers struggle and being forcibly taken away while the children cry is extremely traumatic not only for the parents but also for the children.
To me, the lack of psychiatric studies of the psychological impact of forced separation of children from their parents especially while the children witness their parents being forcibly taken away before their eyes is callous arrogance of the medical profession.
After all, children being forcibly separated from their parents was a common occurrence throughout WWII in both the European and the China theaters.
So, why hasn’t the psychological impact of such atrocities been studied thoroughly?