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Children and family suffering: ethical tensions in child psychiatry Volume 87, issue 7, Septembre 2011

Authors
Professeur de pédopsychiatrie, CHU Besançon, hôpital Saint-Jacques, service de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent, 25000 Besançon, France, Assistante spécialiste partagée, CHU Besançon, service de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent, service de médecine légale, 25000 Besançon, France, Praticien hospitalier, CHU Besançon, service de psychiatrie de l’enfant et de l’adolescent, 25000 Besançon, France

Ethics in its two dimensions, first of benevolence (or non-malfeasance), and also respect for the autonomy of individuals, is often in a tense situation in child psychiatry due to sometimes conflicting issues between the needs or the demands of children, and those of parents, especially when they are psychologically vulnerable. How to balance the attention given to the child with the care given by the parents without accentuating the discomfort of the others? The ethics of care in child psychiatry is not understood by the nature of the decisions, but rather the process that leads to it. The multidisciplinary work, critical in child psychiatry, is intended to bring coherence to the needs and multiple representations of parents and/or children. This study requires an ethic of its own, including a strict relationship with uncertainty and compromise, continued vigilance regarding the nature of shared information, while preserving the responsibility and decision-making abilities of each individual concerned.