“The Resilient Child” Article in New Zealand Listener…Quote
“This case aside, a growing body of research has established that cognitive problems are part of the bitter harvest of child maltreatment. Abuse, chaos, fear and neglect experienced for years in early childhood shape the very architecture of the brain, playing out in cognitive problems, anxiety, behaviour disorders and later addiction and mental illnesses. But if child abuse inflicts damage that is so fundamental and structural, is there really much hope it can be repaired? The short answer is yes,” says visiting child trauma expert Dr Bruce Perry, senior fellow of the Houston-based Child Trauma Academy, and adjunct professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Chicago’s Northwestern University. But using the right therapy at the right time is crucial, and difficult to gauge. What is becoming evident, though, is that some unexpected therapies – including movement, massage and yoga breathing – can be used to repair the most primal parts of the brain and help wounded children heal.“
All children, even those living in healthy and safe homes, are exposed to life changing traumatic events! There are tragedies and traumatic events happening to families everyday all over the globe. How do we help the wounded child heal?
According to the full article in the Listener, it is the rare child who is not affected or damaged emotionally when experiencing maltreatment or abuse over an extended period of time. What worries me the most, is that family members “move on” to the next traumatic event without stepping back to assess the damage and recover. Maltreatment becomes part of the family culture over time…and often competitive with siblings abusing each other as well. These kids from toxic homes like mine grow up and become emotionally challenged adults who eventually need help to save our hearts and souls from the lifetime pain of post trauma symptoms that look much like PTSD. If parents and teachers could achieve more awareness of the consequences of trauma in children earlier and detect the early symptoms in youngsters, simple steps, including massage therapy and deep breathing, can help start the healing process much earlier. But in most cases, parents who are abusive are also neglectful or completely unaware of the long term consequences of trauma on children. In my case, growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s in a highly toxic home, the intensity of abuse and maltreatment was at times overwhelming and without relief through treatment. My parents did not know or understand the consequences of their behaviors…they felt that children were always resilient…not so as we all know today.
At the prime age of 68, I have mostly recovered from a toxic childhood and young adult life, but it is a work in progress to keep the pain of the past at a safe distance. I waited until later in life to even recognize the symptoms of PTSD until researching and writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story, helping me begin a long overdue journey of healing that saved my life. Please help others become more aware of the consequences of child maltreatment and abuse… Recognize the symptoms and take early action to help wounded children heal…
Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… Click on the highlighted text for my author page…