Anxiety, Children, Depression, Mental Health, School

Adverse Childhood Experiences

“Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer.”

I’m reading the research study on Adverse Childhood Experiences and watched the video above, that helps sum up their findings. It’s such interesting information, I needed to share it with you all.

Please let me know what you think!

-Jen, xo

5 thoughts on “Adverse Childhood Experiences”

  1. A passage from Childhood Disrupted (pg.24) reads: “Well-meaning and loving parents can unintentionally do harm to a child if they are not well informed about human development …”

    Sure, people know not to yell when, for instance, a baby is sleeping in the next room; but do they know about the intricacies of why not?

    For example, what percentage of procreative adults specifically realize that, since it cannot fight or flight, a baby stuck in a crib on its back hearing parental discord in the next room can only “move into a third neurological state, known as a ‘freeze’ state … This freeze state is a trauma state” (pg.123). This causes its brain to improperly develop; and if allowed to continue, it’s the helpless infant’s starting point towards a childhood, adolescence and (in particular) adulthood in which its brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines.

    How many potential parents are aware it’s the unpredictability of a stressor, and not the intensity, that does the most harm?
    When the stressor “is completely predictable, even if it is more traumatic—such as giving a [laboratory] rat a regularly scheduled foot shock accompanied by a sharp, loud sound—the stress does not create these exact same [negative] brain changes.” (pg.42)

    Also, how many of us are aware that, since young children completely rely on their parents for protection and sustenance, they will understandably stress over having their parents angry at them for prolonged periods of time?

    Yet, general society continues to perceive and treat human reproductive rights as though we’ll somehow, in blind anticipation, be innately inclined to sufficiently understand and appropriately nurture our children’s naturally developing minds and needs.

    A psychologically sound as well as a physically healthy future should be all children’s foremost right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter—and therefore basic child development science and rearing should be learned long before the average person has their first child.

    By not teaching this to high school students, is it not as though societally we’re implying that anyone can comfortably enough go forth with unconditionally bearing children with whatever minute amount, if any at all, of such vital knowledge they happen to have acquired over time?

    Such curriculum would enable our young people to understand (even if just the basics) how the child’s mind develops. Therefore, they could understand how (with curriculum examples) a seemingly-minute yet consequential flaw in rearing/environment, perhaps something commonly practiced/experienced, can have negative lasting effects on the child’s sponge-like brain/psyche.

    Yes, such curriculum can sound invasive, especially to parents distrustful of the public education system, but I really believe it’s in our future generations’ best interests.

    “It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (pg.228)

    [Frank Sterle Jr.]

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You are very welcome. …

        A 2007 study (“The Science of Early Childhood Development”) found and reported that:
        “The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the health and well-being of the next generation. Stated simply, today’s children will become tomorrow’s citizens, workers, and parents. When we invest wisely in children and families, the next generation will pay that back through a lifetime of productivity and responsible citizenship. When we fail to provide children with what they need to build a strong foundation for healthy and productive lives, we put our future prosperity and security at risk …

        All aspects of adult human capital, from work force skills to cooperative and lawful behavior, build on capacities that are developed during childhood, beginning at birth … The basic principles of neuroscience and the process of human skill formation indicate that early intervention for the most vulnerable children will generate the greatest payback.”

        While I appreciate the study’s initiative, it’s still for me a disappointing revelation as to our collective humanity when the report’s author feels compelled to repeatedly refer to living, breathing and often enough suffering human beings as a well-returning ‘investment’ and ‘human capital’ in an attempt to convince money-minded society that it’s in our own best fiscal interest to fund early-life programs that result in lowered incidence of unhealthy, dysfunctional child development.

        In fact, in the 13-page study-report, the term “investment(s)” was used 22 times, “return” appeared eight times, “cost(s)” five times, “capital” appeared on four occasions, and either “pay”/“payback”/“pay that back” was used five times.

        While some may justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the general self-serving Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard mentality (or what I acronize OIIIMOBY) can debilitate social progress, even when it’s most needed; and it seems that distinct form of societal ‘penny wisdom but pound foolishness’ is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

        Sadly, due to the OIIIMOBY mindset, the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows, “Why should I care—I’m soundly raising my kid?” or “What’s in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support child development education and health programs for the sake of others’ bad parenting?”

        I was taught in journalism and public relations college courses that a story or PR news release needed to let the reader know, if possible in the lead sentence, why he/she should care about the subject matter—and more so find it sufficiently relevant to warrant reading on. It’s disheartening to find this vocational tool frequently utilized in the study’s published report to persuade its readers why they should care about the fundamental psychological health of their fellow human beings—but in terms of publicly funded monetary investment and collective societal ‘costs to us later’ if we do nothing to assist this (probably small) minority of young children in properly cerebrally developing.

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