Module 6 – 5 Mother and child bond – possible problems caused by trauma, flight and exhaustion

5 Mother and child bond – possible problems caused by trauma, flight and exhaustion

5.1 First assessment

Risk factors:

  • Traumatic experiences during flight often result in mental diseases, like post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative behaviour, adaptation disorder, etc.
  • Dissociative experience or splitting-off emotions represent a big problem in terms of establishing a relationship with the child
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders can be transferred to the child
  • Continuous traumatisation in the asylum process with unclear result and on-going consequent traumatisation evokes mental diseases in children, too
  • Restricted space concerning housing conditions impedes the necessary peace and also triggers problems with regard to mother and child bond
  • Delivery and Flight may trigger past trauma (e.g. sexual abuse)

5.2 Red flags

Indications of the development of a disturbed binding behaviour:

  • Lacking sensitivity: the mother does not react adequately to the signals of her baby (e.g. the baby is smiling at her but she looks away).
  • The baby suffers from regularization disturbance: because of the stress caused by the housing conditions and the lacking peace, the baby cries constantly, but the mother is not able to calm it. After nights after nights crying, the baby resigns and shows depressive symptoms.
  • Symptoms of a psychic post-traumatic stress disorder: recurring memories, concentration problems, dissociation (insensitivity), nervousness, taking a long time to calm down, permanent negative feelings, depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Overprotection: traumatised parents are prone to overprotect their children

5.3 Supporting measures

Startklar! : Pregnant women and young parents from the most diverse communities can contact „start helpers“, if they need information, support and/or company, if they want to exchange views and to network. Regular discussion groups and parents’ meetings are taking place:

  • german, english, turkish – (+43)0650 5836614;
  • german, english, arabic – (+43)0650 3301204;
  • german, russian, chechen – (+43)0650 3301132

Frühe Hilfen – Early Intervention family support

Early Intervention-family support: and

Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, Geschäftsbereich ÖBIG, Stubenring 6, 1010 Vienna

Families for families – integration project of the catholic family association 

Support by a sponsoring family – Catholic Family association Austria:

Tel.: 01/ 515 52 32 81