ABANDONED CHILD SYNDROME 8
Theabandoned child syndrome is a serious mental and behavioral disorderassociated with children that have lost either both or one parent.Children can suffer from this condition when both parents are eitherphysically absent or they are present, but fails to provide theiryoung ones with the nurturing stimulation, love and affectionrequired in the foundational years. In some cases, parents mayintentionally abandon their children through giving them out foradoption. However, several studies indicate that foster parents lackthe capacity for providing desired parental love to childrenthereby, leading to the development of the syndrome.
Thisresearch argues that abandoned child syndrome causes fear andinsecurity problem that prevent victims from developing trustworthyrelationships with other people.
Comprehensiveunderstanding of abandoned children syndrome is significant fordesigning an appropriate treatment program for patients. Childrensuffering from the condition tend to avoid the company of theircolleagues as they feel that everyone abhors them. The belief makesvictims harbor bitterness that can make them engage in violentbehaviors as a self-protection mechanism or a revenge tactic fortheir suffering (Thakar, 2008).
Abig number of drug addicts also associate parent abandonment as themain reason they began abusing substances. Abandoned children areself-reserved and shy. They become lonely because they cannot trustanybody. Similarly, young adolescents and young adults on the earlystages of developing love become lonely as they cannot trust otherpeople (Piaget & Inhelder, 1969). They fall out of everyrelationship they form after some time since they focus on theirpartners’ faults. If abandoned child syndrome disorder is not fixedduring childhood, adults with such a background are likely to becomesingle parents (Carter, 2012).
Inearly adulthood, abandoned child syndrome affects the patients’trust other people. They develop intimaste relationships with theopposite gender just as normal humans do (Piaget & Inhelder,1969). However, they are only interested with the spouse during thedating period. Once they get into a relationship, they soon developmistrust towards the new partner as the individuals are ofteninterested with the chase. Spouses of individuals suffering fromabandoned child syndrome may also suffer from frustration since theymight assume that they have commited something inappropriate thatcould make the partner withdraw (Carter, 2012).
Accordingto Carter (2012), abandoned child syndrome causes both eating andsleeping disorders. This implies that patients have poor health dueto malnutrition. They lack contentment, which in turn makes themunable to sustain a healthy family. The disorder is also associatedwith abusive relationships. As the patients look for an excuse toterminate the relationship, some turn to abusing their marriagepartners either verbally or physically. The Clark County prosecutingattorney asserts that patients suffering from the syndrome make theirpartners feel trapped, helpless and alone (Carter, 2012).
Inwork environment, abandoned child syndrome victims are poor teamplayers. They are alienated from the environment, as well as mistrustothers. If another person offers to give assistance, they are quickto reject the offers. This occurs because the child is vulnerable toguilt resulting from the mentality that they could have donesomething that could have made his or her parent abandon them (Piaget& Inhelder, 1969). The fear of uncertainties make the victimsdevelop “clinginess” such that they opt to remain attached tounproductive jobs (Erikson, 1994). Carter (2012) asserts thatlimiting beliefs resulting from the initial wounds of contemptabandonment and shame restrict the patients from exploiting theircapabilities beyond the secure points. For instance, they are afraidto quit a low-paying job and apply for a better paying one. The‘clinginess’ symptom is a unique adaptation for the patients tocover-up for personal insecurities (Carter, 2012).
Psychologicalsymptoms are resulting from abandoned child syndrome behaviors suchas grief, depression, anger, lack of creativity and energy, as wellas anxiety cause physical diseases. For instance, depression andanxiety can make patients resolve into alcohol abuse, which in turncauses physical diseases such as cirrhosis or alcohol addiction.Addiction is a complex neurological, physical and emotional disorderthat makes people consume harmful substances that harm their physicalbody parts (Erikson, 1994).
Abandonedchild syndrome occurs in children that are older than two years. Thedisorder affects children between two and sixteen years, but thesymptoms persist to adulthood. According to Erikson’s developmenttheory, psychological changes that children experience betweeninfancy and eighteen years depend on the extent of parentalassistance they receive. However, individuals past young adulthood,which roughly begins from nineteen years, they develop the intimaterelationship that is independent of parents (Piaget & Inhelder,1969).
Erikson(1994) asserts that human psychological development is classifiableinto eight distinct categories. In each developmental stage, childrenexperience unique developmental characteristics. Infants aged betweenzero and eighteen months old can either acquire the virtue of trustor mistrust depending on a child’s characteristics. If a childreceives appropriate parental care during infancy, which is primarilyfeeding, it develops trust in the caregiver. On the other hand,caregivers that fail to feed children appropriately during infancy,makes them develop mistrust that may later escalate into abandonedchild syndrome (Erikson, 1994).
Thesecond development stage in Erikson’s psychological theory is earlychildhood that occurs between two and three years. The main activityin conflict is toilet training as a child attempts to developindependence over its body. The main task a child strives to achieveat this stage is toilet training. Parental assistance is crucial atthis stage since he or she trains the infant on how to use pottiesand undress. Abandoned child often fails to undergo this stagesuccessfully thereby, resulting in feelings doubt and shame thatlater deteriorates into abandoned child syndrome. On the contrary,children that receive effective parental care during early childhoodstage develop boldness and a sense of autonomy (Erikson, 1994).Pre-school children aged between three and five years, experienceconflict between initiative and guilt. Similarly, the most essentialachievement is exploration. This implies that children begin lookingfor strategies they can use to exert power over their immediateenvironment. Parental assistance is essential during this stage aspre-school children require guidance and moderation when exploringthe environment. In case a child lacks guardian support when it isattempting to gain control over its environment, it experiencesdisapproval and guilt conscience that in turn form the base fordeveloping the syndrome. Erikson also identifies school age childrenaged between six and seven years as another category that isvulnerable to the disorder. The main conflict that childrenexperience at the stage includes industry versus inferiority.Parental or guardian support is necessary for the children toaccomplish both social and academic goals. McLeod (2008) claims thata successful accomplishment of the stage makes children feel bold,competent and sense of purpose. Nevertheless, failure makes childrendevelop an inferiority complex that may hinder their achievementsignificantly. Lastly, adolescences (12 to 18 years) face theconflict of identity and role confusion. This implies that thechildren are in a phase that they are attempting to identify theirlife purpose (Erikson, 1994). The main challenge adolescents’ facein this stage is identifying their career path or respectiveobligations without coping with other people’s restrictions. Thepsychosocial development theory lists parental intervention as asignificant component of modeling children’s characters andrelationships. Children that fail to receive respective parentalsupport throughout these stages develops abandoned child syndrome(Piaget & Inhelder, 1969).
Althoughabandoned child syndrome is mainly associated with children that havebeen raised in an environment with no parents, individuals withirresponsible parents that do not provide parental love, guardianshipand other provisions may also suffer from the psychological condition(McLeod, 2008).
Accordingto Thakar (2008), the African American children have over 50% higherrisk of developing abandoned child syndrome than the white people. Heattributes the risk to the higher chances of the African Americansworking for longer hours and probability of using drugs. Furthermore,the theory indicates that inter-ethnic couples’ children are likelyto suffer from the syndrome because they are constantly quarrellingto the extent of failing to provide effective parental love to theiryoung ones (Thakar, 2008). The research supports the hypothesis thatindividual child syndrome causes fear and insecurity problem thatprevent victims from developing trustworthy relationships with otherpeople. Individuals suffering from the disorder find it challengingto form long-lasting relationships or even work in a team (Erikson,1994).
Insummary, abandoned child syndrome is a psychological disorder thatdevelops in children that have been neglected by their parents.Erikson’s eight stages of psychosocial development claim that theaffected children categories range from infancy to adolescence stage.On the other hand, children from the African ethnicity are mostlikely to succumb to abuse associated with the disorder than theAfrican Americans.
Carter,D. (2012). Thawingadult/child syndrome and other codependent patterns.Holts Summit, MO: D. Carter.
Piaget,J., & Inhelder, B. (1969). Thepsychology of the child.New York: Basic Books
Erikson,E. H. (1994). Identityand the life cycle.New York, N.Y: W.W. Norton.
McLeod,S. (2008). Erik Erikson. SimplyPsychology,retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/Erik-Erikson.html
Thakar,D.A. (2008). Parenting style discrepancies: a comparison ofinter-ethnic and intra-ethnic couples. Masters theses 1896 –February 2014. Paper 94. Retrieved fromhttp://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1134&context=theses