Psychological effects of separating kids from their parents - WNEM TV 5

Psychological effects of separating kids from their parents

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Hundreds of children snatched from the arms of their parents and detained at the US border with Mexico.

A raging debate continues locally about immigration, secure borders, and the psychological effects of separating families.

The recent events at the border have many wondering how are kids impacted when taken away from their parents?

“That’s the pillar of our basic community, is the family, and when you start separating them it creates problems,” said Dr. Jim Olsen, a pediatric neuropsychologist in Bay City.

That’s exactly what’s going on at the Mexican border. Immigrant children being taken away from their parents or other family members.

Dr. Olsen said even at a very young age, such separation can be devastating.

“Like within the first two years we may be looking at reactive attachment disorders that will impair a child’s ability to formulate relationships later in life,” Olsen said.

There are other impacts of taking them away from their parents.

“Later on it can be related to social withdrawal, there are going to be a lot of other psychological deficits children may develop including depression and anxiety and there can be some development regression,” Olsen said.

Don’t forget the parents, they are also impacted.

“To have your child is a very devastating and scary experience,” Olsen said. “It’s something that create a lot of psychological turmoil and distress for them too.”

The doctor also has his own observations over what is happening at the border.

“It seems odd to try to break up a family unit who is trying to seek asylum in the United States it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in creating a lot more psychological problems for these people in general,” Olsen said.

House Republicans are said to be working on two immigration bills concerning family separation.

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