A family for every child
A wish for the children left behind in Romania
In "Our Voices: Young people from across the region", we amplify young people’s voices through a series of articles, personal stories, blog posts and videos. This is a platform for young people in the Region to shed light on their experiences and offer solutions to the challenges they face. All views expressed here belong to the authors, and do not represent the views of UNICEF.
About the author: Natalia is 19 year old student from Romania. She currently studies Social Assistance at the University Aurel Vlaicu in Arad, Romania. Her favorite sentence is "What did you do to save the world today?" and she really believes that change starts with each of us.
People from my country keep talking about the growing number of people who leave our country to work abroad. Over two million people have left Romania over the past few decades in favor of other countries, because of a lack of money and opportunities. Some leave with their families, but often children are left behind, and I really don’t think that enough people care about their vulnerability.
What I want for every child in my country is a family. I want them not to be separated from their parents. Family is one of the most important things for humans and the family plays a very important role in the development of a child.
When a child doesn’t have a family, there are negative consequences. For example, young children sometimes don’t really understand the reasons why their parents had to leave, so they end up feeling abandoned and unloved. Among adolescents, a lack of parental supervision can lead to school absenteeism or even abandonment. Also, in cases where the mother has left, the girls spend more time taking care of household chores, sometimes in the place of school preparation.
It is even worse when parents go away and leave their children alone, because they consider them mature enough to care of themselves. These children must take care of themselves and of the household. For these children, not only is their right to a childhood stolen, but also their right to education. Without education, they will not have the chance to live a better life than their parents.
All children feel the need for constant and close communication with their parents, in whom they find support. This is harder to do with grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians. No one can replace the relationship between a parent and a child, and it can affect a child’s attitude and behavior. A close relationship based on trust and sincerity can help children accept the departure of the parents; to have a healthy social life, and to have good social behavior. The lack of a relationship with parents has been shown to have isolation effects, lower self-confidence, lower school outcomes, and even delinquency. But sustaining a close relationship is tough when the parent is away and cannot supervise the child.
It is very sad that families have to be separated because of material needs. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more widespread. Some parents do not see their children for months or even years, even at the most crucial times of their lives. It is devastating to think that some children, instead of toys for their birthday or holiday, just want the presence of their parents. On the other hand, children who go abroad with their parents are more vulnerable and at risk of social exclusion.
Today there are many ways for parents and children to communicate, but it’s not the same thing. I think that to be separated for your family is a stolen right. Every child deserves to live a life with the protection and love of a family. A parent should be close to his or children when they are needed.
So my wish is that the children from my country are not left behind and get to live with their parents; to live their childhoods and to have a chance at happiness.
The opinions reflected in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of UNICEF.