TAMPA, Fl - Wearing their pajamas, Cole and Chase Hakken were abducted by their father from their grandmother's Tampa home. Then, they were boarded on a sailboat, hit rough weather off the coast and ended up with their parents in Cuba. Now, Cuban officials are handing the family of four over to the United States.
The 2- and 4-year-old have endured all this in a week's time. Not to mention, it is unclear when they will be flown back to the United States and who will accompany them.
"They will likely suffer from post traumatic stress disorder," said Dr. Valeria McClain, a child psychologist who has counseled and work with children who have been abducted by their parents.
McClain said the children could experience symptoms months from now, not just right away. Symptoms include irritability, inability to concentrate, having upsetting or frightening dreams and even exhibiting regressive behaviors.
"They could pee their pants," McClain explained.
But, what if the kids are not traumatized at all? Is that possible? After all, video captured by CNN Tuesday morning showed one of the boys playing aboard the sailboat.
McClain said in similar cases she's dealt with, the children were traumatized to some extent because the trusting bond between parent and child had been broken.
"It's like the parent becomes the cruel villain," she added.
She said another issue these children will likely deal with is whether or not they will maintain a relationship with Joshua and Sharyn, their parents, when and if they are incarcerated.
McClain recommends the boy's maternal grandparents get the boys into therapy or at least get a child psychologist involved to help them transition to living back with their grandparents.
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