The Child Migrant Crisis and the Impact on Social-Emotional Development

“There could be no greater trauma than to be taken away from the foundation, their adult relationships”.

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Episode #102: Many have spoken out on the ethics of separating parents and children at the border. But what is the impact on social-emotional development for children who have already been separated? Dr. Deborah MacNamara has written extensively about emotional sensitivity, anxiety and development of children. She says what children need is strong caring relationships with parents. They need to be anchored with parents. “There could be no greater trauma than to be taken away from the foundation, their adult relationships”. The result of detachment is that a child is stuck – they revert to survival mode, to desperation in a way that prevents growth. Safety and security is removed. Children need strong adults to make them feel safe in the world. Transference of care does not replace caring for a child with attachment, reliability and consistency. The greatest human need is not food and education – it is the need for connection. What more can we do to learn about the child migrant crisis? Listen and find out.

About Deborah:

Deborah provides counseling and educational services to parents and professionals based on the relational-developmental approach of Dr. Gordon Neufeld. She is on Faculty at the Neufeld Institute and presents on all of the Neufeld material. She is the author of the best selling book, Rest, Play, Grow: Making Sense of Preschoolers (or anyone who acts like one), which has been translated into Russian, with Italian, and German versions to follow.

Resources in this episode:

  • Learn more about Deborah’s work here.
  • Trump policy of detaining children ‘may amount to torture’, UN says – as it happened Article – The Guardian

Ron Spreeuwenberg

Ron is the Co-Founder & CEO of HiMama, where he leads all aspects of a social purpose business that helps early childhood educators improve learning outcomes for children.