Damaging Kids for Life: Separation From Parents Has Life-Long Consequences

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The psychological and physical effects on infants and children of extreme isolation from their parents or even caring others has been well-established in the psychological/psychiatric literature. Anyone interested can easily read about the higher death rates in infants who died of what they termed “hospitalism” by Rene Spitz.

The young babies died at a higher rate than would be expected even though they were fed, changed and kept in clean cribs in orphanages. Why? Studies with animals and the infamous Harry Harlow (who changed his name from Harry Israel for professional reasons), with monkeys were devastating enough, but with babies, it was more than shocking. But it needn’t be only in infants or children who were hospitalized.

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Years have passed and now we know that psychological and physical deprivation and isolation indelibly put their stamp on young brains. The children carry with them unseen scars that will be exhibited in years to come as psychological disorders which may be difficult to treat.

How will they be seen? In the case of the non-white kids the object of the government’s cruel immigration policy and caging of kids, they will be seen, most probably, as unintelligent and hyperactive, punished and end up in prison in large numbers.

A disorder that is often seen, Reactive Attachment Disorder, may be stamped, invisibly, on them and their school records, placing a bias in the minds of those who read these reports. Often this is found in children who have been shuttled from home to home because of a dysfunctional foster-care system.

The kids are not well treated and, in too many instances, are sexually and physically abused and they do not punish the abusers. It goes on until the child reaches their 18th birthday and then they end up in jails or psychiatric hospitals. The damage has been done to a degree that they will perpetuate self-damaging behavior.

Now, we don’t have to wait for the next five or ten years to see how isolation may impact a child. A recent media story carried the horrific case of an attendant at one of Mr. Trump’s kids camps who has allegedly, repeatedly, sexually abused a four-year-old girl. He covered his abysmal behavior by threatening the immigrant mother.

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Sexual abuse is only one danger of these detention facilities for children, but it is the most obvious. I cannot see these camps as more than using children as pawns in a political scheme for an admitted endgame; a wall across the Mexican border.

The damage has been done to many of them who suffered the terror of rough removal from their parents, their culture and their language. No comfort is given, only food and a place on the floor to sleep. It sounds eerily like that orphanage in New York state over 70 years ago. How many of them will die or commit suicide?

Yes, studies have shown that children as young as six commit suicide and I wonder how many “accidents” will not reach the media’s attention.

Who can stand idly by and watch this crime being committed daily against these most vulnerable of human beings? Congress hasn’t shown any enthusiasm to act.

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The deaths are on the hands of the silent and, like Lady Macbeth who is tormented when she moans, “Out, out damned spot.” They will never erase the spot that is growing daily in our country’s history, they will never wash it away just like the one where we had Japanese internment camps.

Written by

Dr. Farrell is a psychologist, WebMD consultant, SAG/AFTRA member, author, interested in film, writing & health. Website: http://t.co/VT8mvcAvRz

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