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Ever look at your children and wonder when and how they figure out how they feel the way they feel? Just suppose for one second that it makes a difference how you say what you say to your child. Suppose that how and when you say something is FOREVER written upon your child’s brain neurons. Then, let’s say that what you do everyday with your child is written into his brain neurons in such a fashion that he will re-visit these neurons day after day, year after year. What happens when he re-visits these brain neurons is that he worries. He worries, because he has no control and feels unsafe.

Children are creatures of the environment in which they are raised. Should a child be raised in a happy home with agreeable people who care for one another, that child will re-create that environment for herself as an adult. But, if a child is raised in a disagreeable, unhappy home, she will re-create that for herself as well. Think about your childhood and the direction that your adult life has taken. Any similarities? We become what we have experienced. Perhaps, that should make you consider what type of parent you want to become, as your Parenting style will affect your child for the rest of her life.

When children are born into high-conflict homes, they become trained to react adversely to conflict situations. The conflict observed or heard by the child (yelling, angry responses, physical actions) causes the child to overreact to these problematic situations, and they worry.  Parents frequently underestimate how much their children worry, in that they perceive their children as having lower levels of stress; whereas, children perceive themselves as having more. The home-life situation becomes unfavorable, and the child begins to react and overreact to the powerful, unpleasant stimuli within the home. This means that the child begins to experience stress and worry from a very young age. High amounts of stress caused by parental maladjustment will frequently result in the stressed child externalizing his behaviors and acting out. The negative effect of stress can come from disrupted homes; exposure to arguing, anger and violence; and parents being unavailable. The negative impact of stress will affect the child in his or her social life and academic success.  It will also create negative feelings about Parenting and generate higher levels of stress within the child.

Children say stress is: pressure to do better; when my father is moving way across town and I am staying here; when I don’t see my parents because they work all the time; when my parents are fighting all the time; and, when my mom yells at me.

When a child feels threatened or stressed, there is a greater concentration of brain cell growth in the mid-brain, the emotional center, at the expense of the prefrontal brain area where a child performs higher-level thinking. There is a tendency for traumatized children to be overly sensitive to cues of perceived threat, creating a quick trigger for survival or aggressive behaviors. As a result, these children have a predisposition to appear impulsive with hostile or withdrawal behaviors and depression. Unavoidable stress lowers levels of the calming neurotransmitter serotonin in the child. Low levels of serotonin are linked to aggression, obsessive- compulsive behavior, and depression in children. Low levels of serotonin leaves a child overwhelmed with life until, ultimately, the system shuts down with depression or explodes with aggression.

Perhaps we need to be considerate of how we act as parents, knowing that our behavior impacts our children’s emotional life. In other words, if you can be happy, your child can be happy too.

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Tags: Featured Story, Parenting

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