This is something that we have only started to realize in full. For generations, we’ve told ourselves that “kids are resilient” or they won’t remember traumatic events. Those traumatic events are changing the brains of these kids in meaningful ways:
“Faulty working memory, deficient executive functioning, dysregulated emotions, risky behaviors, and school challenges are telltale signs of ADHD — and also common manifestations of trauma in children and teens. Science tells us that exposure to traumatic events and chronic stress undoubtedly affect children’s brains, but experience tells us that outward signs are seldom obvious or easily diagnosable.
Understanding trauma and how it impacts the developing brain is critical to recognizing red flags and supporting stressed children and teens in the heat of the moment — and as they heal.”
Read the whole thing. It’s important. Children amid trauma focus on surviving. Their brains focus on surviving and not development. They then grow up to be adults without a chance to develop fully.
The fix is to get kids with resources to help them develop as early as possible. (And to also get them removed from the things causing so much trauma.) The longer this goes on without any treatment, the more damage is done.
We may not be able to prevent every kind of childhood trauma, but we need to understand the impacts and how to treat them. Otherwise, we are simply leaving too many people behind.