کودکان اخراج شده از خانه به دستور دادگاه: حزن و اندوه ناشی از محرومیت از حقوق خود و احیای توابع پدری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|37463||2013||8 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||7655 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Children and Youth Services Review, Volume 35, Issue 10, October 2013, Pages 1679–1686
Abstract The study, based on in-depth interviews with 15 fathers in Israel, reports on fathers' emotional reactions to the court-ordered removal of their children from home. The findings show that all the fathers experienced the removal as a traumatic event, which utterly devalued them and annihilated their paternal identity. Although they suffered intense pain and loss well after their children were removed, their grief was disenfranchised as friends and family accused them of allowing the removal to happen. With this, most of the fathers acclimated to the removal and even reported an expansion of their parental identity. The discussion suggests some theoretical conceptualizations of their intense feelings of pain and loss.
Introduction The court-ordered removal of a child from home has implications for the child, the parents, and the family as a whole. Most of the attention of practitioners and researchers has been on its effects on the child. The relatively sparse study of its effects on the parents has focused on mothers (e.g., Freymond, 2003 and Scott, 2003) or presented its effects on mothers and fathers together without distinction (e.g., Haagenstad, 1991, Höjer, 2011 and Schofield et al., 2011). The only exception known to the author is Jenkins and Norman's (1972) book Filial Deprivation and Foster Care, which reports the findings of their five-year longitudinal study of 390 mothers and 390 fathers with children in foster care. Documenting the painful “filial deprivation” experienced by both parents, the book provides separate statistics on fathers' and mothers' feelings and behaviors. It constitutes the first recognition by researchers of the suffering that court-ordered removal of a child causes fathers, no less than mothers. The study is over four decades old, however, and entirely quantitative, which means that it cannot capture the nuances of the parents' experience. The imbalance is consistent with the gendered approach to the family in child welfare. Even where the father is present, child welfare tends to focus on mothering (e.g., Brown, Callahan, Strega, Walmsley, & Dominelli, 2009), while fathers remain excluded and invisible (e.g., Dominelli, Strega, Walmsley, Callahan, & Brown, 2011) even where they are involved with their families and despite their increased role in active parenting in recent decades (e.g., Lamb, 2004). This paper reports findings of a qualitative study of 15 fathers whose children were removed from home by court-order. It focuses on the fathers' experience of loss. This is one of the most powerful experiences, perhaps the most powerful, of parents whose children are removed by court order (Burgheim, 2002, Haagenstad, 1991 and Schofield et al., 2011). Yet, to date, the subject of parents' loss has been discussed in-depth, only in a small number of clinical studies and in an even smaller number of empirical studies. The clinical studies detail the feelings of the parents whose children were placed in out of home care. Along with feelings of loss and grief, they describe the parents' feelings of pain, guilt, worry, fear, and, in some cases, relief (Hess, 1982, Mandelbaum, 1962, Shapira, 1995 and Siu and Hogan, 1989). They also describe the injury to the parents' parental self-esteem (Littner, 1975) and sense of parental competence (Maluccio, 1981). A vivid and detailed description of the loss of parental identity is provided by McAdams (1972), who tells how she lost her belief in herself when her children were placed in foster care. The empirical studies consist of four qualitative studies: an unpublished Master's thesis in Hebrew and three recently published papers. The Master's thesis, by Ilana Lavi (2000), examined mothers' experience of separation in the wake of their children's placement. On the basis of interviews with 36 mothers in Israel, Lavi reports on a range of emotions, including pain, emptiness, anxiety, restlessness, guilt, bitterness, anger, helplessness and a sense of meaninglessness, and, on the other hand, relief, satisfaction, gratitude, hope, and happiness. But the dominant emotion, she writes, is the sense of loss: loss of joie de vivre, of maternal role, and of the warmth and affection they had received from the child. Of the published studies, Buchbinder and Bareqet-Moshe (2011) interviewed 12 couples (24 parents) in Israel whose children had been placed in residential care. Their key findings are that the parents viewed the placement as necessary, acknowledged positive changes in the child and the family, feared that the child's return home would cause the family to regress, and reported that their sense of guilt impaired the couple relationship. The authors also briefly quote parents mentioning their sense of loss and mourning, but do not comment on these feelings. Similarly, Höjer (2011), based on a focus group with 13 parents (12 mothers, 1 father) whose children were placed in foster care, reports that most of the parents experienced strong anger, despair, guilt, and helplessness. Although she cites quotations that tell of their sense of loss, she does not name this feeling in her list of “crisis reactions”. Schofield et al.'s (2011) paper, whose title features the issue of “managing loss and a threatened identity,” is the single exception to this trend. The paper synthesizes the findings of three parallel studies, in England, Norway, and Sweden, which together interviewed 62 parents, either mother or fathers, whose children were in foster care. It reports that feelings of grief at their separation from their children were vividly described by all mothers and fathers, and provides poignant quotations. It also describes in detail the parents' loss of parental identity and comments on their disenfranchised grief. The focus of the paper, however, is on how the parents managed their sense of loss and on the help they need from social workers. Moreover, in none of these papers are fathers discussed separately from mothers. It is important to study the losses of fathers whose children were removed from home separately from those of mothers, for three reasons. One is that there is evidence that men respond to life events differently from women (Baarsen and Groenou, 2001 and Walsh and Horenczyk, 2001), so we cannot assume that the feelings reported by mothers are the same as those felt by fathers. Another is that despite men's greater assumption of parenting tasks in recent decades (Cabrera, Tamis-LeMonda, Bradley, Hofferth, & Lamb, 2000), the traditional view that the parental role is more central to mothers than fathers still prevails (e.g., Arendell, 1997 and Milkie et al., 2002), even among social workers (Davidson-Arad et al., 2008 and Höjer, 2011). Separate study of fathers' losses is needed to better understand the place of the parental role in their identity. A third reason is that children in placement who remain in contact with their parents, and especially with their fathers, generally return home sooner and to re-integrate better into the community afterwards (Gershtenman-Shelef and Lazar, 2006 and Malm et al., 2008). Studies of divorced fathers show that for them to remain in contact with their children, it is vital that they be able to cope with their loss (Baum, 2004). To help fathers whose children are removed from home to cope with their loss, it is important first to know what those losses are and how they experience them. This study focuses on fathers who were living with their children at the time of the removal and whose children were removed by court order. This focus was adopted to enable us to learn from those fathers who actually experienced the forced removal of their children at first hand.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
3. Findings The findings present four themes: 1) critical moments (the court order, the separation), 2) grief and accusations, 3) acclimation to the removal, and 4) expansion of parental functioning. 3.1. Critical moments The fathers identified two critical moments in their experience of their children's removal: hearing the court order and parting from their children. 3.1.1. The court order Most of the fathers identified the court order of their child's removal as a traumatic event. They experienced the removal as a traumatic loss analogous to that of losing an organ or limb: “like having part of your own body taken out” (#9), “like taking my heart, taking out part of my soul” (#10). They told that the intensity and duration of the pain were exacerbated by the fact that the removal was effected by court order, rather than by consent: If it happens by force or it's imposed… it's like they've torn something out of you…. When an organ is removed, … even years later, you can feel pain… where the organ used to be…. It's the same thing, the same feeling. #8 Most went so far as to describe it as a death sentence or a murder: “At that moment, I felt like the world had collapsed. It was a death sentence, as if I'd shot myself in the head” (#12). “When the court decided that the girls would be moved… it's like murdering me…” (#11). All the fathers rightly understood the removal order as a statement of their unfitness to be a father: “They come and say to me, You're not fit to be a father…. I'm a lousy father…. I don't know how to be a father” (#11). The message, as they understood it, applied not only to the present but also to the past. As such, it eradicated everything of worth that they may have done as fathers and whatever positive perceptions they may have had of themselves as fathers: “Like what was I till now? Crap? It's like you're unfit, worthless” (#12). The loss of their child was thus compounded by the loss of their role and identity as fathers. 3.1.2. The separation With only one exception, the fathers parted from their children at the residential facility where they were placed. They described every detail of the parting. It was invariably an extremely painful experience, accompanied by physical symptoms such as difficulty breathing and heart pain. The pain was intensified by the fact that it was they themselves who brought the children to the residential facility, by their children's anger, pain, and accusations, and by their own feelings of responsibility and/or helplessness: When we got there he screamed like an animal… he cursed…. He said a lot of things out of anger and fury. It was… as if he was punishing me. How could I just put him there and go away?…. I felt pain…. #15 We brought the boy there and he didn't want to go…. We stayed with him till evening…. Then they opened the gate for us, and you see the child running, “Mommy”, “Daddy”…. It was a really terrible feeling…. When the gate closes you see him on the other side like a monkey in a cage, and he's calling out to me…. It's hard to see him screaming from the gate like that…. #6 Most of the fathers told of making strenuous efforts to protect their children by giving vent to their pain only out of their children's presence: I restrained myself in front of him…. Then I couldn't bear it anymore…. I went to a gas station, got something to drink, and sat down…. When I was alone, I calmed down slowly. #13 It was hard to part with the boy…. I got emotional…. I had tears in my eyes, but didn't cry in front of him. I turned around…. I told him not to worry…. But right in the middle of talking… I ran outside…. I said I was going out for a smoke…. I cried. I didn't want him to see I was crying… so he wouldn't break down himself. #4 3.2. Grief and accusations 3.2.1. Grief All the fathers spoke poignantly and at length of their grief after their children's removal. They invariably missed the child and felt strongly the continuous presence of the child's absence: At night sometimes I'd hear, “Daddy, daddy”. I'd be thinking he's calling me…. After they took him… in my sleep I think he's in the next room and that he's calling me…. It was like… I was with him but not with him…. It's like living with someone who's not here but whose presence I can still feel all the time. #8 The palpable sense of the child's absence could be triggered by a whole range of parenting or family activities: I think about him every day….When I take the girls to kindergarten… When I dress them in the morning… I think about him…. Or when I shower them — and he's not there. #9 Another source of grief was the loss of the paternal role. The fathers spoke of missing taking care of and interacting with the removed child: “I don't have anyone to cook for now. I don't have anyone to yell at, no one to argue with, no one to laugh with” (#12). Some fathers also experienced anticipatory grief. This could be grief that they would not have the opportunity to see and participate in the child's growth and development: It's a feeling of missing out because he's not with me…. Experiencing his growth from infancy till he becomes independent… going through things with him… having him grow up with me… being the one to raise him. #8 It could also be the fear that without the daily interaction with their children, they would lose their connection with them and/or be supplanted in their affections by others: I don't want her to lose her connection with me…. Time and distance do their work…. When she [my daughter] isn't so close to me, she might find someone else…. Things happen when people spend a lot of time together…. Time takes its course, and it really worries me that the girl is becoming a bit distant…. There's a difference between visiting once a week and living with them at home. #14 3.2.2. Accusations Virtually, all the fathers told that their pain was exacerbated by accusations that they were responsible for the child's removal: that they allowed it to happen, “didn't fight” for their children, and could have prevented it. The accusations came from their other children (who remained at home) and from relatives and friends: The children acted like I'd thrown him out…. It wasn't enough that it [the removal] hurt me — they added pain…. #6 My sister tells me, ‘You're a disgrace to the family. Even being a drug addict would be better [than being] a father whose children are taken away.’ #11 My parents told me, ‘It's your fault’. … I told them that I already have a heavy heart… and they're only making it worse. #3 The accusations left them feeling frustrated and unable to make their feelings and situation understood: There's no recognition…. When they talk about fighting for my daughters… I look at them…. What do they want from me? #11 A good friend tried to persuade me that maybe it [the child's removal] was better for me…. My feeling is: What does he know? #10 One father apparently felt the need to explain to his female interviewer that he was as devastated by having his children taken away as she, a mother, would be under the circumstances: You're a mother. Just imagine that I'm taking away your child. Imagine them telling you, ‘Listen, you can't be a mother, we've revoked your right to be a mother. You don't have a role anymore….’ You're not a father…. #11 Most of the fathers also blamed themselves for their children's removal and felt guilty about it: “I'm a father who abandoned his daughters,” (#11) one put it. If they had hugged the child more, spent more time with him, didn't drink, they ruminated, the child would not have been taken away: “This whole situation is my fault…. I feel bad…. If I didn't drink so much, none of it would have happened” (#8). Some single fathers raising their children on their own blamed themselves for the long hours they spent at work: “I feel pangs of conscience, because I spent a lot of time at work…. I'm aware that I'm partly to blame for not being at home, but I'm also the main provider” (#14). 3.3. Acclimation to the removal Once the removal was implemented, all but one of the fathers interviewed accepted the court's judgment and cooperated with the social services for the good of their children. With this, most of them described a process of acclimation lasting weeks or months before their pain began to abate and they could absorb and come to terms with the removal. Two sub-themes emerged from their statements about the process. One was the theme of mourning. This theme can be identified in the following description of the initial pain of the removal and its gradual alleviation: It's not easy at first, and I went through some really hard days…. All of a sudden the house is empty…. It's hard to detach myself from him…. Suddenly my boy's gone…. It's a shock…. I didn't know how to cope…. For a few months I was totally out of it…. They take your child away, and you miss him…. Then slowly things fall into place. #5 This father's description of his empty house, his shock and disorientation, his inability to detach himself are all reminiscent of the early days of mourning. Several fathers compared the process of acclimation to that of mourning. One told that he had sunk into the same depression when his parents died and was coming out of it in the same gradual way as he began to accept their death. Another made the comparison explicitly: I'm more reconciled to it now…. I'm beginning to digest it. I'm less upset…. They say that time is the best solution. It's the same way with mourning and grief…. One week goes by after another, and I'm beginning to get used to it… not really getting used to her not being with me, but it hurts a bit less. #14 The other theme was the association of the fathers' acclimation with that of their children. The following father attributes the emotional difficulties he experienced after his children were first placed in alternative care to the adjustment difficulties that they had: It killed me in the beginning, during the first month…. They would come home for the weekend, and they didn't want to go back. It was all forced, we had to persuade them…. That's why you break down at first — because they're not used to it and neither are we…. #10 Another father, who told that it took him about two or three months before he began to come to terms with the removal of his daughter and son, linked his difficulties to those of his children and the improvement in his emotional state to that in theirs: Speaking of his daughter, he told: “At first I was against it…. It hurt…. She cried, I cried…. But at some point the crying stopped…” (#6). His son, he told, initially took the separation “really hard,” wouldn't eat, made trouble, and even ran away. Then, “Like a pigeon that you put in a dovecote — she goes out and comes back, and she gets used to it…. And you see, he got used to it” (#6). The process, he tells, took two or three months. In the end, he was “really pleased that time took its course and they were really happy there” (#6) and he too began to feel less bad about his loss. Only 1 father of the 15 interviewed did not describe a process of mourning and acclimation. This father continued to fight the removal and, instead of working through his loss, told his son that the removal was temporary: “In a few more months or a year you'll be back home. I'm fighting for you….You're there for the meantime. Try to make yourself at home. It's like you're on a trip. Set up a tent… until I take you back” (#8). His son, this father tells, felt disconnected and had difficulty finding his niche in the residential facility: He's waiting. Like, he's in limbo…. When I'd visit him… I'd see the bag he took when he left home was still there…. He told me he didn't like the facility — he didn't like being away from his parents…. He feels disconnected and doesn't always participate. #8 3.4. Expansion of parental functioning Along with their distress, most of the fathers described major changes in their parental functioning. Statements such as “Today I'm a full-time father, more responsible, more involved in his life” (#5) were standard. The fathers reported taking their children places, spending more time with them, talking with them more, giving them more affection, and being more attentive to their needs: I try to see him as much as possible…. I give him… the love he needs, I ask questions, like ‘how was school today?’, ‘Did you do your homework?’ — that sort of thing…. #5 When the children were with me… I didn't see them like I do today…. I didn't see their needs, that they really need a hug, a kiss, a father. Daddy never had time for them. #12 Their greater availability and sensitivity, they told, resulted in a stronger or closer relationship: Our relationship is stronger today, because when they come home I have time for them. When they were with me, I'd work Saturdays and holidays…. Now they come… and I'm all theirs until they leave…. #12 Some fathers attributed the change in their behavior to the easing of the burden of day to day care that occurred with the child's placement. One, for example, told that he felt relieved once the children's instrumental needs were taken care of by the out-of-home facility. Another told that he was able to be more patient and engaged once he didn't have to put up with the noise the children made at home. Others attributed the change to understandings they gained, often through a process of introspection, with the child's removal. Thus, one father told that he came to understand that the “problematic” and aggressive child who was removed from home needed not reproaches, but greater warmth and love. Another told that he came to understand the importance of tolerance and communication: I decided to change my approach…. Tolerance is the secret of success with the boy…. Listening to him… the child pours out his heart and you say… “What's bothering you?” That's how you can help the child…. The most important component is communication with the child, tolerance and a listening ear. #15 Other fathers described greater sensitivity to their child's needs, and regret filled examination of the situation before the child was removed: Their accounts of their change were marked by sadness and regret. “If I could do it over, I'd change a lot of things…” (#15) one told. Another father, who told that he had become less aggressive with his son, reported: From the time he left for placement, I started to see children as a supreme value. I should have learned that before…. I should have learned before… how to treat the children… how to behave with them…. Once I didn't know how to behave toward the child…. It was a situation that made me more aggressive, more violent…. #3