Most parents don’t even realise that they pass on their childhood traumas to their children. Sometime ago, we were discussing healing from parenting hurts in the inner circle academy. I realized that many people are raising children without healing from their past. So many parents are angry with themselves, their spouses, and the economic situation of the nation which leads to playing the victim card. So whenever emotions arise, they victimise their children by playing the victim card not because they want to but because they don’t know any other way. They say things like, ‘you caused it’, ‘you made me angry.’
HOW WERE YOU TREATED AS A CHILD?
How you were treated as a child will have a direct effect on how you parent your child. Until you understand this as a parent, you will consistently need to work on yourself before raising another human being. Your emotional stability and awareness are paramount to the success that you have as a parent. You need to start working on understanding who you are, this is the most important thing that you must take.
WHAT HAPPENED IN YOUR EARLY YEARS?
Studies have shown that everything we do comes from our sub consciousness. The subconscious mind is built between the age of 0-10years. This means that everything you do is coming from your early years.Experiences during childhood shape our perception and understanding of critical moments in our adult life. Over time, these negative experiences disrupt neuro development. They lead to social, emotional and cognitive impairment and ultimately, they result in abducting health risk behaviours. That’s what adverse childhood experience entails.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE’s) come in main forms. Ranging from physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction. There are 10 different types of childhood trauma mentioned in ACE’s study. Five of them are personal physical abuse; verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members but a lot of them are related to the individual. So a parent whose father was an alcoholic or a parent whose mother was a victim of domestic violence will hurt the household. It’s not going to disappear. Divorce is a big deal, it affects your ACE’s counts.
CGC study uncovers a stunning link between childhood trauma and chronic disease people develop as an adult. I’m going to link this up with the kind of upbringing that we also have in our clan. This childhood trauma has been linked to the chronic disease people develop as an adult as well as social and emotional problems. This includes; heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes and many autoimmune diseases like depression, violence, and suicide.
Everything you are doing as a parent has an after-effect. ACE’s works through experience, not just exposure. So if an ACE’s is prevented from causing toxic stress, the harm will not occur. This means that a child constantly needs a nurturing environment that can build children resiliently to prevent them from ACE’s. The good news is that early intervention and prevention on the impact of ACE’s can be mitigated. This it’s essential for you to know what’s happening to you as a parent.
Most of us enter a parenting relationship wounded and it is from our childhood. Like I usually say, “Time does not necessarily heal any hurt.” Numbing a feeling doesn’t mean that it heals it. So you can develop coping mechanisms, but it’s not the same as healing from the hurts.The first point of call is to find out what is wrong. The fear and the rage of childhood are powerful and they can overwhelm you as a parent. It’s very challenging to overcome this. You must understand that ACE’s can be dangerous to children as well.
The more we sweep ACE’s under the carpet, the more harm it would do to us. Hence, the need to heal from our childhood experiences. Children who suffer violence exhibit lasting negative effects that reach every corner of the adult’s life. If you commit to learning differently, you will begin to see these things and correct them.
HOW CAN I CONTROL AND REACT TO ANGER?
Anger is scary enough for your child. A child who suffers violence will lead to a low IQ, a likelihood of a stormier relationship in their marriage and a higher likelihood of substance abuse. So if your child isn’t afraid of your anger anymore, it’s an indication that you’ve just numbed them and they have developed defences. The unfortunate result is that the child is less likely to want to behave to please you if you’re not open to influencing them.
LET’S TAKE THE ACE TEST
- Childhood trauma is very common and extremely common in our clime. People usually experience more than one type of trauma. The higher your ACE’s score the higher your risk of health and social problems. An ACE’s score of 4 or more means that you need to deal with it. There is a likelihood of different kinds of things with an ACE’s score that is more than four. Usually, I advise four. If you have an ACE’s score that is three, please deal with it. When I took the ACE’s test, I had 3/10, so I decided to deal with a lot of the things that I experience as a person to be able to deal with my parenting journey.
Globally, medically and scientifically, if your ACE’s score is four and more, then you need to do something like healing and therapy. The more your ACE’s score, the more you have the likelihood of some of the things that we shared about ACE’s in the test above.Childhood experiences have a lot to do with chronic diseases, antidepressants prescription, drug abuse, suicide, smoking and risk of perpetrating domestic violence.
Toxic stress damages the structure and function of a child’s developing brain. We also have ACE’s in children. There are signs that your child might start to begin to go through childhood trauma. When children face trauma or are affected by one of these ACE’s, they are not always open. I was watching a video recently, and I saw a boy that committed suicide in African. So these things aren’t a geographical thing, it’s everywhere. The young boy was sodomised when he was 15th and he committed suicide when he was 20. His parents didn’t even know until after his death.
HOW ACE’S AFFECT THE BRAIN
ACE causes a rewiring of the brain. Your child might also be going through ACE’s because of your parenting style.
It makes the children more prone to risky behaviour both now and in the future which is triggered by toxic stress, prolonged activation of the body stress response system and the areas of the brain like the amygdala. This leads to a reaction from the emotional part of the brain instead of the thinking and planning area.
ACE affects our health. The life expectancy in Nigeria is very low, ACE’s puts a threat to one’s life.
ACE’s can result in violent outburst beyond a typical toddler tantrum. So when you have a child who is outburst or struggling with behaviour, that child could be having an ACE’s. These behaviours reflect their emotions and dictate their actions. So the results of their brain heighten the emotional state and suppress the thinking process.
- ACE’s can affect learning disability. Children who have been exposed to adversity have a lot of trouble concentrating because they are always ready for danger. What ultimately puts children at risk of jeopardizing their well being is the lack of emotional support at home. Loving your child is not enough, you must learn to support your child.
Remember, abused people don’t stop loving their abusers, they stop loving themselves. So the fact that you love everybody around you doesn’t mean that these things are not true.
Take responsibility for your journey! You need to understand that you are doing this for the next generation.
Stop practising a culture of silence. Speak out and seek help from your childhood traumas. Parenting characteristics are reflective. This means that even the things that you do not want to do, you will see yourself doing them. Parenting is about the process, if you’re not willing to do the work, there is going to be trouble.