Help! I broke my kid!
Parents, especially Moms, are often worried that they have broken their kids. That somehow, their choices (especially if they were not good choices) will have a lasting effect on their kid. They worry that the divorce, the moving around, the exposure to violence, the poverty, the drinking or drugs, the trauma, etc. have had such a profound effect on their child that their child may not recover.
These Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) can have a lasting effect on kids and research has linked these experiences to adults with poor physical and mental health. Kids who grow up Hard are at-risk for living an adulthood that is Hard.
The good news, which is reinforced by another new study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that we can help inoculate our kids against that Hard adulthood. We can do things for them that will boost their chances of being happy and healthy in adulthood, regardless of difficulties in their childhood.
We do this by giving them Positive Childhood Experiences. Specifically, we can try to make sure they:
Are able to talk with their families about their feelings
Feel that their families stand by them during difficult times
Enjoy participating in community traditions
Feel a sense of belonging in high school
Feel supported by friends
Have at least two non-parent adults who take genuine interest in them
Feel safe and protected by an adult in their home
We may have difficulty giving our kids all of these, but the more we can create, the more strength we give them. If you find that you are having difficulty creating these Positive Childhood Experiences for your kid, I can help. I'm great at making, and implementing, a plan that can stockpile those positive experiences to carry them into the future.