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How are children affected by parental abandonment?

My husband and I are going to begin raising the child of my sister who she effectively abandoned at a young age. We want to be prepared for psychological issues the child might have developed during this time, but we have no idea what to expect, and there's too much info online. What is the most likely problem we'll run into?
You are right, there is an enormous amount of information out there to sort through. One reason that it is so difficult to find answers is that how the child will be affected by the situation depends on an large number of factors. This means that no amount of reading will give you a definitive answer about you nephew or niece's chances of doing well under your care. That is why consulting with your pediatrician and/or pediatric psychiatrist are very important steps. How the child will deal with being abandoned by a mother or father depends largely on the child's age at the time. The younger the child, the more likely that they will not be affected by this event. The older the child gets, the more they seem to fear additional abandonment. Probably the most common manifestation is an attachment disorder where the child becomes fearful and angry when the caregiver drops them off somewhere. Remarkably, most children are rather resilient and end up mentally fine in the end. I suggest you find a pediatrician for your niece or nephew that you feel you can easily talk to about any issues you see coming up. This way behaviors or mood changes can be recognized earlier and dealt with in an appropriate manner. Good luck.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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