Children are resilient. How many times have you heard that? How many times have you said it? The reality is that that statement is simply not true. Our children have less coping skills than we, as adults, do to deal with the difficulties that life throws at us. They do not bounce back. Since they do not know what to do with these traumas, they simply act as if nothing is wrong. That is not the same thing as resiliency.
In fact there is a study that was done at Kaiser with thousands of people called the ACE study. (Adverse Childhood Experiences.) The researchers asked adults how many different types of traumas they experienced as children, things like the loss of a parent (to death, prison, divorce, etc.), child abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, domestic violence in the home (even if they were not hit, if they only witnessed it), drug or alcohol use in the home, if there was depression, mental illness, or suicide in the home, or if they were not raised by their parents. The more adverse experiences, the higher the ACE score.
They then looked at these children, as adults, and looked at their health today. Perhaps not surprisingly, the higher the ACE score, the increased risk as adults of depression and suicide, drug and alcohol use, and promiscuity. However, more surprising, the higher the ACE score the higher probability of a person being obese. Even more surprising is the link between higher ACE scores and heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure and other illnesses, and for these individuals to die younger from these heath disorders.
Our children need to be nurtured and taught how to deal with trauma. We need to raise them in healthy homes. We need to learn to be healthy to be able to do so. So, today, go do something to start healing yourself so that you can create a healthy environment for your children. Help create an environment that will allow them to become healthy, happy, long-lived adults. Get yourself healthy for your kids. Don’t they deserve it? Don’t you?