Every child must undergo a rite of passage to become an adult. This journey is one that has become more complex in recent history due to the increasing complexity and challenges in their life and the lives of their parents.
There has been an explosion in the last 20 years of child learning disorders such as ADD and ADHD. There has also been a rise in childhood mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, speech and socialisation disorders.
These issues not only are exacerbated by the complexity and chaos in society and our parents, but there are other factors involved such as diet and health that also play a part. We now know also that developmental issues such as trauma can play a significant role in creating these problems in our children.
Developmental trauma is that incident, incidents or pattern of sustained behaviours that compromises the child’s development and which stems of the actions or inactions of the caregivers and parents of that child. Developmental trauma typically occurs in the relational space between child and the parents.
There is an overall concern in our community that our children collectively are not all developing into healthy adults. As a result parents are looking for answers outside the domain of medication of their children for a solution.
There is reason to believe that parents do not possess the information they need to guide their parenting styles with their children. It is timely that the field of neuroscience has in the last 10 years now uncovered more detail about what happens in children around developmental trauma.
This research also is complementary to the concept of building resilience in our children as a potential way of creating health, as well as to repair any developmental trauma that has already occurred. Taken together these two educational threads create the basis to assist parents in being the parents they hope to be in offering their children the support they need to navigate childhood into adulthood.
The concept of psychological resilience is directly an embodied state where the other faculties such as left and right brain functions then come into play. Resilience is then the ability to cope, recover and repair from peak positive and negative experiences without lasting damage and trauma.
Resilience is the presence of resources that allow one to cope, stay safe, stay present, and to have the ability to navigate a way through an experience that is optimal in the circumstances. We know that resilience is something that we ideally should create and learn and experience as we grow through childhood.
However resilience can be learnt and adopted in adulthood for trauma recovery, and for increasing wellness and brain function. The neuroplasticity we all possess throughout our lives gives us the ability to adapt and rewire all through life and resilience practice does create neuroplasticity rewiring in the brain.
A child is a sensitive being whose little nervous system has no capacity to cope with aroused adult behaviours, or threatening encounters where they are over stimulated, made to feel unsafe or overwhelmed. Trauma is a common outcome when this occurs and the more often it occurs the more likely there is there will be wiring of the brain towards either left or right brain hemisphere dominance.
As Pat Ogden (2009), one of the world’s pre-eminent trauma neuroscience researchers and therapists notes:
“Trauma and negative attachment experience both leave their imprint on the body’s procedural memory system, shaping the posture, gestures and movement of the body. Long after the childhood environmental conditions change, we remain in a state of readiness to perform the procedurally learned actions that were adaptive in the past but often now maladaptive in the present”.
We owe it to our children to each examine how we parent and how we relate to our children, and to what experience they get at home and school. Their future selves are wholly at stake by what occurs in the early life years.
To find out more, including some important types of resilience building activities that we can use to build resilience in children and adults, click the following link to read the full article Developmental Trauma and the Role of Resilience in Re-establishing Brain Integration
Richard Boyd is a Body Psychotherapist, counselor, author, and the CEO of Energetics Institute and Corporate Energetics” MBA,BBus,AdvDipCEBPsych,Cert Coaching AICE,AIFM,ExtDISC Certified
Visit him at http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au