PSYCHOLOGICAL WELL-BEING, FAMILY RELATIONS, AND DEVELOPMENTAL ISSUES OF CHILDREN LEFT BEHIND1

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Abstract

The phrase “children left behind” refers to minors who are left in their home country while one or both of their parents emigrate for work for at least six months. From a quantitative point of view, children left behind in countries with strong migratory pressure are many. Separation of families in migration is tied to implications about well-being of the people involved—mainly the children—and of the communities to which they belong. The emotional neglect felt by these children is associated with lack of affection and physical intimacy. Through a review of the literature, the purpose of this paper was to show that distress in this pattern of deprivation is manifested by the children in several ways and in different contexts: low school performance, drop-out from school, conflicts with teachers and peers, anxiety, low self-esteem, tendency to feel depressed, apathy, suicidal behaviour, and substance abuse.

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