Author: John Kerrigan posted July 6th 2016
Is family life helping or hindering your child?
Parenting is a tough job. As our children grow up they give us great joy, headaches, pride and worry. We know that there are going to be tough periods as they develop as individuals and learn that anxiety around relationships and events like exams is an unfortunate fact of life. Whilst you may think that these issues are part of life, what you might not know is quite how many of our children suffer something more serious.
At some point, two-thirds of children have to deal with what scientists call Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) — episodes ranging from dealing with the death of someone close, to bullying and abuse. “Adverse childhood experiences are the single greatest unaddressed public health threat facing our nation today.” (Dr. Robert Block, former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015).
As parents, it is both upsetting and tough to watch our children deal with emotional and behavioral changes associated with adversity. ACEs can have both emotional, mental and physical effects. They can triple the risk of heart disease and lung cancer later in life, and dramatically increase the likelihood of depression, high risk behavior and even suicide.
But, as parents how do we know when our teenager’s behavior is just part of being a teenager or if our children are dealing with something far more serious? We believe parents need support to pre-empt and prevent sustained emotional and behavioral issues associated with traumatic childhood adversity. That’s why we want to raise awareness of the family’s ability to help prevent these issues taking hold and leading to bad outcomes.