Did You Know (Children and Trauma)?
Did you know that something a child experiences today could affect him or her for years to come? Did you see the latest research on adults who faced a childhood trauma? (You can see complete chart at this site. http://www.ministrybestpractices.com/2012/11/adult-disorders-linked-to-childhood.html).
The chart I’m referencing is the study I mention several weeks ago called the ACE Study, Adverse Childhood Experiences (http://acestudy.org/). This chart is great for ministers to have in their offices. It is one of the first charts I’ve seen that ministers can take and use in their churches as they minister to congregants. It explains what happens to adults when they have experienced an adverse childhood experience.
This chart doesn’t mention that divorce is an adverse childhood experience but the ACEs study does mention it. You can find more about the ACE Study at the link above and http://www.cdc.gov/ace/index.htm.
One of the things I like about this chart and these kinds of studies are they verify what I have felt and known for a long time. Many of us that have worked with children know that when they experience a trauma such as divorce that it affects them in many ways. For instance one of the results of trauma or crisis causes children to endangered or worthless.
Many of the children we work with in DC4K (Divorce Care 4 Kids) feel worthless. They will tell you they feel that way. Many don’t feel safe, and they feel endangered.
The more crisis and trauma a child experiences the more it really does affect their brains. They literally have their brains rewired. It can cause adult onset of ADHD, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Women are 27% more like to become obese and men 66% more likely to become obese. Even their health can be affected.
So you see there are even more reasons to work with the child of divorce within the church. They need us now and our future generations need us.
I know the kids who came to DC4K when it first came out ten years ago. I also have kept track of some of these kids, and they are not experiencing as many of these adverse effects. I believe it is because we address the basic need of love, safety and support. We also teach them how to label their feelings. If you can’t label a feeling, you can’t tame it either. So when a child learns how to put a name on a feeling, they also learn how to address the problems that come along feeling that emotion.
We help them know what to do with their anger. We teach them appropriate ways to deal with their anger. We do much more, but do you see how just these few things might help someone who is a child today become a better adult tomorrow?
Pass this chart onto your minister. Perhaps it will help him or her have more understanding and empathy when an adult comes to him with many of the adult problems we have in our world today.
For more resources and information on divorce, family disruption and modern families please visit our Hope 4 Hurting Kids Divorce and Modern Family Help Center.
This article is updated and adapted from an article originally published on Divorce Ministry 4 Kids on November 16, 2012.