Absent parents increases likelihood of mental health problems in kids

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We already know that the early years of life are critical for instilling confidence in a child and for setting the child up to be a confident and capable adult and that naturally the parents have a significant role to play in shaping a child’s future. This is common sense.

Now senior psychologist Liu Huaqing with the Beijing-based Huilongguan Hospital is saying that children whose parents are absent or not close to them in the early years of their life are more likely to develop a mental health problem later on in life.

“The experience in the first six years is critical role in the formation of a child’s personality and the sense of security” Xinhua news quotes Liu as saying.

Lui isn’t just talking about parents who are not living with their children but about parents who are leaving their child on a regular basis whilst they go out to work.

This could potentially worry the huge numbers of working parents who leave their children with childminders of some sort, every day, often for a significant period of time.

According to Liu, it is important that mothers spend as much time as possible with their babies, particularly during the first couple of years of life.

These days it is not uncommon for women to want to return to work very soon after giving birth, either through choice or by necessity, and many will feel they have no other option than to send their child to a childminder, or to a nursery.

The Senior Psychologist says that parents should not be sending their child to boarding kindergartens. When parents do have to work, Lui says than when dropping a child off at a kindergarten, they should help their child feel more secure by reassuring them that they will be returning soon and that they’ll be picking them up later.

“That is a process to build mutual trust. Otherwise, children might feel abandoned” said Lui.

Of course any good parent will do that naturally.

Parents are often leaving their child whilst they go to work in order to give them a better standard of living and more opportunities in life. In some cases it may be that the parent is much happier by working and this rubs off on the child.

In any circumstances, if a child appears to be worrying excessively, is becoming anxious, or is feeling insecure and under confident, then it’s important to identify why, and to address it.

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1 Comment

  1. Emma
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I found this very interesting. I am 25 and have depression, my dad also suffered from depression through out most of my teens.
    Both my parents were in the Police and I always remember having nannies look after me, waking me up in the morning, taking me to school, collecting me from school, putting me to bed. I don’t remember much about them as a small child.
    I would get attached to the nannies and then they would end up leaving and being replaced, and I always wondered if this is why I am always so anxious about people leaving me or abandoning me.


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