Left Behind Children – Parents emotionally unavailable

Is work, career, social commitments, your unresolved childhood issues stopping you from being an emotionally engaged parent? Countries like China are fixing these issues, the trail of damage to the youths affected by the poor child /parent attachments.

Zheng describing the plight of “left-behind children.



Left behind children

Left Behind Children – parents emotionally unavailable

These are young people who have one or both parents who migrate for work opportunities and financial reasons. Globally, millions of children are cared for by single parents or grandparents, with variable but sometimes only occasional contact over years with the parent(s) who has  departed. This is a phenomenon that has occurred in China among other countries, in the context of rapid industrialization and urbanization. Often there are adverse psychological consequences for the children, and Zheng describes the range of difficulties, such as problems of inferiority complexes, lower self-esteem and lower confidence. Many appear to lack security and are too afraid or feel too much anxiety to interact with other peoplewith lower mood and greater anxiety and antisocial behavior, social isolation, and lower scholastic attainment. The studies reviewed suggest that there are a number of risk factors, and that resilience may be increased by maintaining parent – child communication. WHO. (2001). The world health report 2001 – Mental health: New understanding, new hope. Geneva: World Health Organisation.

My point is here is that in my opinion the UK  as parents and communities would benefit looking at other countries whom have had the experiences in the development of children, and the impact that reasearch proves in China children of this era have been affected psychologically; the emotional wellbeing of these innocent children caught up with socioeconomics. In recent years, new information from the fields of neuroscience and behavioural medicine has dramatically advanced our understanding of mental functioning. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that mental functioning has a physiological underpinning, and is fundamentally interconnected with physical and social functioning and health outcomes.

Research suggest around 15% of Chinese children have mental health problems. He said that compared favourably with a rate of around 20% elsewhere, but noted that some problems, such as anxiety disorders, appear to be on the increase.

Rising living standards have allowed more parents to focus on their children’s emotional wellbeing, but development has also brought new problems, including dramatic changes in family structures and increased educational and social pressure. “For a lot of children, economics are not a problem. The problem is that opportunities to play are fewer,” said Zheng.

Viviane Green of the department of psychosocial studies at Birkbeck College, one of the international expert said cases were often similar to those in the UK, with “acting out teenagers; early attachment issues”.

But she added: “What probably is slightly different in China is how emotions are expressed, because the culture is different and filial piety is very strong. People do have conflicts – but the sense of self is not an individualised model as we have here – [the idea] that good mental health is about separating and moving away. It’s much more about duty to the family of origin and the links you keep with them.”https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/30/china-left-behind-children-mental-health.

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