The topic of parent migration and its effects on the family environment has become a focus of moral dilemmas in East Europe for the last three decades. Children have been…
The topic of parent migration and its effects on the family environment has become a focus of moral dilemmas in East Europe for the last three decades. Children have been portrayed as social orphans and parents working abroad as neglectful parents. Today, with more evidence from research and experience, the impact of parental migration is much more comprehensive and nuanced, recognising its noxious or even harmful but also possibly empowering effects. This chapter reflects on the involvement of left-behind adolescents as co-researchers in a study of transnational families. It acknowledges the agentic role of children (often automatically labelled as victims of neglect), amplifies their voices to inform existing data on the impact of parents' departure to work abroad and identifies directions for intervention that might strengthen families.
The research is an integral part of CASTLE – Children Left Behind by Labour Migration, an ongoing project (June 2021–December 2023). 1 This chapter presents the research collaboration experience with 12 co-researcher adolescents with previous left-behind experiences, originating from Moldova and currently residing in Romania. The co-researchers participated in all stages of the research process: training, design of data collection, recruitment of research participants, data analysis and dissemination of results. Taking co-researcher roles had an empowering effect on adolescents, who learnt how to express their views on the topic, voiced their experiences about the emotional costs of being left behind by their parents and reflected on sensitive issues like separation of family members and violence in the family.