Growing up Traumatized

An article in Science Daily highlights the trouble with growing up these days.

“Nearly half of all children in the United States are exposed to at least one social or family experience that can lead to traumatic stress and impact their healthy development — be it having their parents divorce, a parent die or living with someone who abuses alcohol or drugs — increasing the risk of negative long-term health consequences or of falling behind in school, suggests new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

For the study, Bethell and her colleagues analyzed data from the 2011-12 National Survey of Children’s Health, a survey of parents of 95,677 children under 17 from throughout the United States. The survey included questions about nine adverse childhood experiences as reported by parents: extreme economic hardship, parental divorce/separation, lived with someone with a drug or alcohol problem, witness or victim of neighborhood violence, lived with someone who was mentally ill or suicidal, witnessed domestic violence, parent served time in jail, treated or judged unfairly due to race/ethnicity and the death of a parent. The survey includes myriad data on family and neighborhood environments and parental well-being in addition to children’s schooling and medical care, and contains some data about child resilience.

The study found that more than 22 percent of children represented in the survey had two or more of these traumatic childhood experiences. Broken down by state, Utah had the lowest number of children experiencing two or more traumatic experiences (16.3 percent) while Oklahoma had the highest (32.8 percent).”

Children who experience trauma early in their lives are much more likely to have a mental illness, learning disorder, have to repeat grades in school, and more.

People want to call this the most selfish and weak generation ever, yet manage to willfully ignore that it’s also the generation facing some of the worst environments to grow up since the great depression. Often those environments are created by parents who are the same ones complaining about the ‘me’ generation.

The article definitely gives you something to think about when it comes to child development. It could have wide implications for parents and educators, possibly helping in preventing suicide or violence.

2 thoughts on “Growing up Traumatized

  1. I don’t really think this generation faces anything any harder than any other generation. They do have the advantage of being led to believe that they know it all and they’re special. THAT in itself could lead to the trauma and their critique of their parents when they learn that the world does not revolve around them….like Obama, it is never their own fault.

    Children in other generations faced economic hardship…so today’s kids’ parent won’t buy them Air jordans ( or whatever the latest over priced athletic shoe may be) and they’re traumatized and made to feel that they are third class citizens.

    I suffered a couple of those ‘traumatic’ situations myself. Lost a parent thru death, young widowed mother who decided to tough it out and continue working rather than go on some type of government welfare. People had pride in those days. And they overcame their traumatized events which happen to be….life. No one ever said it was fair. Until Mr. Obama became president.

    • First, I think it is very admirable and respectable that you overcame the kind of difficulties you did – and same for your mother. I can’t imagine losing a parent at this point in my life, nonetheless as a child.

      But I do think you might be trivializing some of the difficulties now faced. It may be nothing like losing a parent when you compare things, but divorces have become more common and those are terrible for a child. I had several friends whose parents divorced and it pretty much screwed them up in different ways. Going back and forth between parents for permission or objects they wanted, for example. Or, having to deal with new step parents. Or being put in the middle and having to choose who they’d rather be with. It’s a common problem that has serious repercussions on a person.

      And that’s not taking into account the many other traumas the article discusses. 40% of sexual assault cases involve victims under the age of 18. Sexual abuse is fairly rampant. General abuse is pretty rampant. Same for domestic violence. Those things may all have existed 20 years ago but we have to stop the comparisons. This is a new generation with different problems in different ways. I believe I used university as an example. I paid twice as much as my father and was unable to get any assistance from the government because my parents made too much money. I had to go through my bank independently. My father had a much easier time. Different generation, different troubles.

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