No Harm Done? Think Again

No Harm Done? Think Again

Seclusion and restraint are dangerous practices, sometimes leading to serious injury and even death, especially when children are involved. When no one is hurt during these interventions, it might be tempting to breathe a sigh of relief, and to accept them as a risky but necessary way of modifying children’s unacceptable behavior.

Tempting, but wrong.  The act of forcibly isolating or restraining a child is, almost by definition, a violent act. Whether or not the scars are immediately visible, someone is hurt each and every time these interventions are used.  Most experts agree that these interventions cause psychological harm, especially for children who were previously victims of trauma or abuse. Some children have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following seclusion and restraint episodes, while others have shared their feelings of desperation and even attempted suicide while isolated. After the event, children who have been restrained have reported nightmares, anxiety, and mistrust of adults in authority. Children who were secluded report experiencing feelings of anger, depression, humiliation, despair, and delusion. Read More »