Childhood separation and loss have become virtually a way of life for a large number of children throughout the world. Children separated from their genetic parent(s) and consequently their genealogical, social and cultural roots due to processes such as adoption, parental divorce/separation, donor insemination, single parenthood by choice and child trafficking can face social, emotional and psychological difficulties.
This book explores the premise that a proper understanding of the complex inner world of modern day separated children and their psycho-social development requires a shift in focus or emphasis. It presents the notion of socio-genealogical connectedness as a new theoretical framework for studying and promoting these children's growth and development. This new theory simultaneously challenges and complements existing notions of psycho-social development, including attachment theory and Erikson's psycho-social theory of personality development. Owusu-Bempah proposes that this sense of socio-genealogical connectedness is an essential factor in children's adjustment to separation and their emotional and mental health; much like those adopted, separated children suffer a loss of genealogical continuity, and hence, loss of 'self'. This hypothesis is discussed and ultimately supported through both the author's own research and a broad selection of theoretical and empirical material from other areas.
The book further considers the implications of this notion of socio-genealogical connectedness for childcare policy and practice, as well as directions for future research in this and related fields. Children and Separation is an invaluable resource for academics, students and childcare professionals. The accessible style of the book ensures that it will also be useful to parents and anybody affected by childhood separation.
Table of Contents
Preface. Acknowledgements. Theories of Childhood Separation: An Overview. Socio-Genealogical Connectedness: In Theoretical Context. Socio-Genealogical Knowledge: A Missing Dimension in Bowlby's 'Forty-Four Juvenile Thieves' Study? Socio-Genealogical Connectedness and the Well-being of Children of Divorce. Further Research Evidence: The Gender Question. Socio-Genealogical Knowledge and Self-identity. Divorce and Parental Alienation Syndrome: Socio-Genealogical Implications. Research, Policy and Practice Implications. Bibliography.
Kwame Owusu-Bempah, Chartered Psychologist, Chartered Scientist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, is Reader in Psychology at the University of Leicester. He has published extensively on topics in several areas of his discipline. His current research interests are in the areas of racial justice and the psychological well-being of separated children.
"This is a really excellent work which should raise a number of controversial issues and challenge a few 'comfort zones'." - Sandy Fraser, Lecturer in Social Work, The Open University, UK
"The work provides a new synthesis of research into child development spanning many decades. There is a compelling involvement of the author in the material and a wealth of ideas of practical significance not only to psychologists but also those working in the child care fields." - Dennis Howitt, Reader in Applied Psychology, Loughborough University, UK
"This book offers an innovative perspective on the needs of children for positive knowledge of their family origins. Professionals working with children in relation to divorce, reconstituted families and assisted conception, and writers and researchers in these areas should find it essential reading." - Peter Stratton, Professor of Family Therapy, University of Leeds, UK
"According to Owusu-Bempah, sociogenealogical connectedness is a new perspective. (It is) an interesting perspective, and one that has not been previously developed to any great extent in the psychological literature." - Sherri McCarthy and Elisa Sykes, PsycCritiques