Tag Archives: childhood

Hugs Reduce Stress

Toxic stress in early childhood can harm children for life, warns the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Don’t think your children have experienced toxic stress? All children do to differing degrees. Whoever said childhood is bliss didn’t know what he was talking about. Children experience stress just by being a child. From nightmares, worry about transitions, being afraid of the dark or thunder storms, social fears, children have a hard lot. And that doesn’t cover huge emotions and dysregulation that they cannot possibly understand when asked, “What’s wrong?” Then being punished, criticized, or threatened for behavior they can’t control…. You name it, a day rarely goes by when a child doesn’t experience stress.

Stress arises for a child when sensing a threat with no one to protect him from that threat. Children who experience this kind of stress in the early years, even prenatally through mother’s hormones, “…are more likely to suffer heart disease, obesity, diabetes and other physical ailments…also more likely to struggle in school, have short tempers and tangle with the law.”

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Our Living Legacies or Baggage We Can Drop

We live our lives, choose our experiences and relationships, believe in ourselves, and raise our children according to how we were raised. Many do not connect the dots to form the connection. Many swear they are nothing like their parents and would never make the same choices. Yet even in our resistance or rejection, we resist and reject in ways provoked by these experiences—unconsciously. Until we recognize the connections and change our consciousness.

As small children, we are receptors of what is in our experience and environment. We do not yet have the cognitive ability to deconstruct what someone says to us and decipher its meaning. Not until seven or eight do our brains develop enough to take in an experience and think, Dad didn’t really mean that, he’s just having a bad day. Or, Mom is being funny with her sarcastic remark. She’s just pretending to be mad at me. Or, That’s his problem. Before then, a young child’s psyche is just forming. Yelling, criticism, and blame is absorbed and processed as the truth. So when Mom gets her button pushed and screams, “Who do you think you are? You never listen. If you don’t stop crying, I’ll give you something to cry about,” the young child’s brain hears, I’m bad, I’m wrong, I’m not good enough.

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