In the many immigration battles and struggles experienced throughout the nation, one topic getting repeated media attention centers around the division of immigrant families. Specifically, the separation of children – often quite young – from their immigrant parents.
Studies have shown these separations have a profound negative physical and emotional impact on immigrant children. These impacts can last for years after the fact, and may even produce problems over the rest of their life.
Psychology Today points out the harmful effects of separating children from parents. First, a child can actually suffer from trouble with brain development. Traumatic and chronic stress actually interrupts the developmental process of the brain, often at a crucial point in its formation for younger children. Stress creates cortisol and adrenaline, which can actually cause brain damage over a period of time. This can cause cognitive development and behavioral issues later in life.
Physical health effects
On top of that, health effects also serve as a common side issue. Children can experience physical effects like headaches, nausea and a lowered appetite. Chronic stress also causes well-documented medical issues like high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, heart disease and eating disorders.
Mentally, children may experience an onset of anxiety or depression. They could even end up experiencing a stressor trauma disorder like post-traumatic stress disorder. Children often do not have the tools necessary to express their suffering either, which leads to internalization that can manifest in problems like addiction or self-destructive behaviors later on in life.
One could avoid this if only immigrant children and parents did not end up separated. It is a single fix that could do wonders for individuals.