Mental Health Problems of Abandoned Children

abandoned children

Abandoned children suffer a host of mental health problems that can carry into adulthood. They have trouble trusting people, forming attachments, and may experience a range of emotional issues like anxiety and depression. Many of them also develop a core belief that they are unlovable and are responsible for their abandonment.

A child who is physically abandoned by a parent or caretaker can be left alone and exposed for long periods of time without proper supervision or provisions for basic needs like food, shelter, or clothing. This is usually the result of a parent choosing to no longer participate in the care or support of a child, whether because of a divorce, separation, or an extramarital affair.

While physical child abandonment is often the most obvious, emotional and psychological abuse can be just as detrimental. In addition to a sense of being unloved, feelings of guilt and shame can also have lifelong consequences for a child’s mental health. These are referred to as toxic stress and can cause long-term problems, including difficulty building healthy relationships and developing self-esteem, and a heightened risk of substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression.

Parents might choose to emotionally abandon their children for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they are simply unable to cope with the pressures of being a parent and their own emotional struggles. Others might be dealing with a mental health condition or poverty that makes it difficult for them to provide adequate care and attention.

Other cases involve a choice to abandon a child for moral or ethical reasons. These could include the stigma of illegitimate or unwanted children, the perception that children are a burden to society, or even a desire for a cleaner conscience. These types of motivations are usually not wholly reprehensible, but they do highlight the importance of understanding what motivates parents to abandon their children.

Some parents may be so desperate for help or relief from their struggles that they choose to abandon their children. This can be particularly common in situations of domestic violence, alcohol or drug addiction, or financial crises. While this is a heartbreaking and tragic circumstance, it’s important to remember that the majority of parents who choose to abandon their children are not abusive or neglectful, and that they are simply struggling with their own personal issues that have made them unable to function as parents.

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