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Parents Need Help with Trauma Too: A Bottom-Up Approach

 

Psych Central published my latest article on trauma and it's one you don't want to miss! Through my work with children coping with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) the historical trajectory became very clear to me. Often childhood trauma doesn't start with the child who was traumatized, but it starts with the parents and grandparents of that child who were overwhelmed by adversity and never had help. Unprocessed emotional trauma is likely to be passed on in some capacity to at least the next three generations. This is why it is crucial we bring attention to helping parents and grandparents process their trauma so that we can stop the cycle from repeating itself.

In my article, Stopping the Cycle of Transgenerational Trauma, I discuss WHY and HOW we can put the brakes on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), by focusing on mental health for children, AND ALSO their parents.

 

An adult that experienced childhood trauma and had symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder might have gone unnoticed by caregivers, teachers, and even social workers. As a child, their behavior might have been attributed to lack of motivation, ADHD, or other behavioral problems. But trauma is much more than behavior.

 

In the case of children who experience abuse and neglect the behavior is the symptom of broken trust and a nervous system on high alert for danger. At some point, typically during puberty or young adulthood, the impact of childhood trauma to the brain and nervous system begin to surface but often go untreated or unprocessed. When this happens, we have adults trying to raise children with maladaptive parenting skills and difficulty regulating their emotions. Without learning emotional regulation from your parent, a child is left without the mirror she needs to integrate and regulate her emotional life.

The greatest support one can provide to a child exposed to trauma is an emotionally intelligent caregiver.

When parents are living with unprocessed trauma, their children's behavior can trigger unhealthy coping skills within themselves - like frequent conflict, poor emotional regulation, impulsive decision making, drug abuse, and neglect. In addition to this, if a parent was traumatized at say, age five, when his/her child turns five the traumatic memories can bubble up to a level of consciousness in the parent making it difficult to provide quality care to the children.

We also now know that trauma is passed down from generation to generation through not only experiences, but also biology. Research into the science of trauma is now discovering how psychological trauma is passed down epigenetically (through our genes!) to our children. 

 

To learn what we can do to help stop the cycle of trauma, read the full article HERE.

 

If you are looking for practical tools to improve the psychological health of your family, please join my new Facebook group, Emotiminds, HERE. Each week I will share therapeutic activities and resources to help your family develop and maintain mental health skills. Think of it as a classroom for you and your children's emotional well-being. Let's get out of survival mode and start thriving together!

 

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Kids need safety.  They need Maslow's needs met.  Our society doesn't meet these basic needs for most kids and then we don't help parents with their own emotional reactivity from disorganized attachments in infancy, not being seen, lack of strong self development, and dissociation.  

People don't know how to perspective take anymore because perspective taking (mentalizing) is a major component of empathy and just being able to analyze and think critically.  When you weren't shown empathy as a baby, you won't be able to give empathy to anyone else, including your own kids unless you make a tremendous effort. and get a lot of help.    When no one engaged you in critical thinking, you won't think critically.  

ACEs and "ACEs Science" is very problematic in my book.  The important take home point is the Dose Response Relationship.  The rest of this "science" distracts us from what happens in the first three years of life beginning when the Egg Meets the Sperm (Dear Kathy, You were Right) and that makes us completely ineffective in solving anything for the next generation.   We just spin our wheels and become more and more enslaved.   It is the lack of being know in relationship with your mother (a secure attachment) beginning in infancy that gets passed from generation to generation and will forever until we refuse to agree anymore. 

The time to free ourselves is now.  Everything that is happening to us is because we agree and do not think.  We agree to terms of service we don't understand; we agree to long winded mumbo jumbo contracts.  None of it is in the best interest of humanity.    

I hope instead of looking at ACEs, we try to figure out how to get free which I believe comes from the way we are interacted with starting from the moment of conception.   

I don't support the mission of ACEsConnection anymore.    For starters, I actually don't know what the real mission is.  I don't support anything that takes away our freedom.  I don't support anything that harms kids.     

I do support David Dooley though and his www.AdvancingParenting.org

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