What Separation From Parents Does to Children: ‘The Effect Is Catastrophic’


From The Washington Post: “This is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents.

Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit mes­sages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain.

‘The effect is catastrophic,’ said Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School. ‘There’s so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this’ . . .

The reason child-parent separation has such devastating effects is because it attacks one of the most fundamental and critical bonds in human biology.

From the time they are born, children emotionally attach to their caregiver and vice versa, said Lisa Fortuna, medical director for child and adolescent psychiatry at Boston Medical Center. Skin-to-skin contact for newborns, for example, is critical to their development, research shows. ‘Our bodies secrete hormones like oxytocin on contact that reinforces the bond, to help us attach and connect,’ Fortuna said.

A child’s sense of what safety means depends on that relationship. And without it, the parts of the brain that deal with attachment and fear — the amygdala and hippocampus — develop differently. The reason such children often develop PTSD later in life is that those neurons start firing irregularly, Fortuna said. ‘The part of their brain that sorts things into safe or dangerous does not work like it’s supposed to. Things that are not threatening seem threatening,’ she said.

Research on Aboriginal children in Australia who were removed from their families also showed long-lasting effects. They were nearly twice as likely to be arrested or criminally charged as adults, 60 percent more likely to have alcohol-abuse problems and more than twice as likely to struggle with gambling.

In China — where 1 in 5 children live in villages without their parents, who migrate for work — studies have shown that those ‘left-behind’ children have markedly higher rates of anxiety and depression later in life.

Other studies have shown separation leading to increased aggression, withdrawal and cognitive difficulties.”

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  1. What I find incredibly sad is how many people object to the separation of refugee parents and children but are always so ready to separate parents and children for perceived mistreatment or neglect rather than respond in ways that strengthen family bonds and teach skills or otherwise provide opportunities for success for parents. The devastation of separation happens to kids in foster care who are often removed for incredibly dubious reasons from parents who often need little more than economic help and education. We need to respond as a loving supportive community, but we’ve been blinded by a system that marginalizes struggling populations.

    The refugees that are arriving on our borders are victims of the same systems of oppression that citizens continue to suffer under – mass surveillance, a chronic state of war and interference in other countries affairs, wages for capitalist labor only, and a value system that rewards those who trample others on their way to the top. This isn’t sustainable and breeds the criminality and dysfunction it purports to attempt to stem.

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    • Yes, and the “mental health” workers like to steal people’s children from them as well. My psychologist’s medical records show proof that she wanted to steal my “4 yr girl” from me, who was actually only three at the time. Our “mental health” workers aren’t very good listeners. Thankfully, that didn’t happen.

      And our school social workers make up wild and untrue fantasies about how mothers “keep your child up late nights studying and you’re pushing him too hard.” And they want to get their hands on the well behaved children, because they get 100% on the state standardized tests. Thankfully, my child’s science teacher had heard of genetics. And the principal of the school eventually apologized for the insane school social worker’s lunacy, then confessed to me that the public schools were “not equipped to educate the brightest children.”

      Wow, why not just be honest in the first place?

      But you are absolutely right about the foster care system. I’ve heard the foster care system is America’s biggest source of children for child sex trafficking.


      And CPS is a hot mess too. They do NOT investigate real cases of child abuse, when medical evidence of child abuse is in hand, if the abuse occurred outside the home, thus they won’t be able to steal the children. Nancy Schaefer was seemingly “suicided” for exposing the evil nature of our CPS system.


      But at least I was able to close down a school, that had a pedophile on their school board, once that school learned that the medical evidence of the abuse had been handed over. Unfortunately, however, that satanic pedophile is still free, since our police haven’t been arresting the pedophiles for decades in America. The Chicago police are under some sort of odd delusion that it is the psychiatrists’ job to arrest the pedophiles.

      No, it’s the psychiatrists and psychologists job to cover up child abuse, by poisoning the child abuse survivors, and their concerned parents, en mass.


      The systems are satanic.

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