Parental Abduction Takes Toll on Kids’ Future Mental Health

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Language: English

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ABC News reports that 70 percent of children involved in parental abduction cases endure serious mental health issues later on, related to the trauma of the experience. Parental abduction occurs when one parent takes the child or children without the consent of the other parent or of the court, fleeing the area. According to studies, children suffer from feelings of shame, confusion, insecurity, and anxiety after such events.


A divorce can be a messy, tangled, emotional affair. In some cases, mental illness is involved; in other cases, addiction or abuse may be a factor. Sometimes, the couple going through the divorce are simply too angry and sad to think straight and to logically see the outcomes of their actions. Out of desperation, a desire for revenge, or fear of losing a child, one of the parents may decide to take the kids and run.


Gaudi Rubio-Thorne testifies that he was a toddler when his abduction occurred. His father took him out for the day and did not bring him back to his mother. Instead, his dad took him to Spain. Terrified of losing her son, the boy’s mother took action, and the boy was soon back home with her. Although the experience was brief, Gaudi suffered from feelings of confusion, frustration, and anger throughout his childhood and into his teen years. His trust with his father was broken, and the sense of loss and anger was profound.


Often, when a parent abducts the children, he or she jeopardises their future rights to see and interact with their kids. Sometimes the abduction succeeds, but often the other parent manages to get the children back. At that point, lawyers usually become involved, and the abductor is legally prevented from being with the children again, at least for a period of time. The situation causes pain for young kids who do not understand why they can’t see their dad or mom again. They may realise that they were the cause of that separation, and that can trigger guilt and self-hatred.

One survey reveals additional risks for children abducted by parents. According to a survey cited in Psychology Today, a full 16 percent of abducted kids endure emotional trauma, while another 4 percent suffer physical abuse, and 1 percent are sexually abused. After the experience, children may show signs of psychological distress such as fear of strangers, anxiety about doors and windows, bedwetting, nightmares, anger, depression, and anxiety.


If you or someone you know experienced the trauma of parental abduction, seek help right away. The experienced Singapore psychiatrists at Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic can help you seek out the source of the anxiety, anger, or depression that you feel. No matter how long ago the incident occurred, it’s never too late to find help for the emotional damage that was done. With effective modern therapies and counselling, you can address the source of your pain, find relief, and improve your mental health in Singapore.

News Feed from Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic

Sources: (, May 23, 2016); (Psychology Today, Nov 13, 2010); (PubMed Central, January 1 2009)

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