Day 4: Impacts of Abuse on Development

I realize that there are 2 days of classes that I skipped, however, based on our crazy schedules, we weren’t able to attend days 2 and 3. Fortunately, you do not have to attend the classes in order, so we will be able to pick them up in December.
Did you know that it is worse for a woman to drink alcohol when she is pregnant than it would be for her to use illegal drugs? It’s true. Women that drink alcohol while they are pregnant have more of an effect on their baby’s development than any illegal drug would. And that includes crack cocaine, heroin, meth….you name it. It’s disgusting really how uninformed we are as a society. And yet, alcohol is not only legal, but it is also legal to drink while you are pregnant. I know, the whole thing seems backwards.
In class, we discussed the effects that an abusive home can have on the development of a child. We made comparisons of typical behaviors of children, and the ages in which they develop these behaviors {which just reminded me even further that even though I took child development courses in high school and even some human development courses in college, I definitely do not know when some specific behaviors are developed in children} to the behaviors of children that may be delayed in respect to children that have gone through some form of neglect and/or abuse.
It was reality smacking me in the face, really.
They compare children that enter the foster care system to members of the military that have served on active duty. These children, just like those in the military, suffer from PTSD. In any situation, suffering from PTSD is horrific, but these children unfortunately go through these traumatic situations while their brains are still developing. It literally becomes part of them. It’s molded into their brains. These kids are taken from everything they know {even if it isn’t that great} and placed in a world that is completely foreign to them, all while trying to cope with their traumatic past. And so how do we expect them to behave? Of course they will struggle. Of course they will act out.
I think I had my ah-ha moment.
It’s really getting down on their level. Having empathy for what they have gone through. Trying to understand why they do the things they do. Is it psychological or physiological? Did you know about 80% of kids in the foster care system are diagnosed with ADHD? Many of which are misdiagnosed. When we make this diagnosis, are we taking into account their developmental delays because of the abuse?
There were stories upon stories of food hoarding. How your primal brain takes over. It becomes livelihood. The instructor shared how her aunt would hide food throughout her entire house, and still does to this day, because of the effects the depression had on her. Because she remembers going to bed hungry when she was a kid. And another story of a lady that adopted 4 boys from Guatemala and once found a raw pork chop under one of their mattresses.
A lot of these kids have experienced some neglect, many times in the form of not being fed. And because they weren’t fed while their brains were developing, it stays with them. They will never be rid of the idea that they may not know when they are getting their next meal.
Awful, awful stuff you guys.
So let’s just say Mike and I have already decided that we will have a basket in the pantry with their name on it. It’s their basket. And they get to pick what’s in there. Healthy options of course. It’s their food. And no one else’s. We hope to not find any pork chops under mattresses, but if we do, we’ll deal with it. Because we need to understand where they are coming from. And hopefully we’ll be able to convince them to hide something a little less perishable next time.
These classes are amazing. We are learning so much. We actually think it would be good if all parents took these courses before having kids. So much you should know before you jump into parenthood.
And a bit of a side note, most of these posts are going to be super depressing. The instructor explained to us that in the classes, she doesn’t often talk about the good. Because it’s not the good times that we need to train for. It’s the bad times that we need to understand how to deal with.

1 comment :

  1. I am really enjoying your posts. Such interesting information. You're right, this is stuff all parents should know before having kids. I know I could benefit from being more educated on such topics!