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Orphan kids' mental care vital
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Sunday is International Children's Day, but this year's festival will be overshadowed by worries for kids orphaned by the Sichuan earthquake.

Investigation by local governments in Sichuan province estimates the number of orphans at more than 1,000.

The concern of so many wishing to adopt these orphans and the government's care of them suggest the young quake victims will be able to lead comfortable lives, at least from a material perspective.

But the psycho-logical impact and the unexpected loss of their parents and relatives in a matter of minutes should never be underestimated.

It will be much more difficult to help them recover from mental trauma than to take care of their physical needs.

To adopt one of them or provide help in other forms to some of them needs not only intrinsic sympathy and kindness but deep thought on the kind of love they're given to help them emerge from a psychological shadow.

It is has already been reported that one of the orphans grew restless after being showered in too much attention and that he refused to talk to anyone.

This particular example shows that love is important for orphans to recover from their psychological trauma but not the only thing, and too much love may adversely affect an orphan.

One of the Tangshan Earthquake orphans warned that youngsters with such deep mental trauma tend to be both too sensitive and stubborn.

Taking care of these orphans needs love given in a constrained manner, patience and tolerance.

Too much love is likely to add to the feeling of otherness that most orphans experience, which will make them even more sensitive and averse to kind-heartedness.

In addition, they may be spoiled if they are doted upon simply because they are believed to need more care and attention than their ordinary peers.

Making them feel as if they were at home, according to psychological trauma experts, is the best way to help them recover from their trauma.

Everything we do for them should let them understand that they, as a member of a family which has adopted them or as a member of a public home where they are taken care of, do not only have a right to whatever they need but also obligations and responsibilities to the family and home.

It is important never to let them have the feeling of otherness.

(China Daily May 31, 2008)

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