Building Resilience and Decreasing Childhood Trauma

  • Science tells us that 80 percent of a child’s brain develops by age 3. Prenatal and early childhood development has a lasting effect on a child’s brain and ability to learn, function, and grow.
  • Stress and trauma can weaken and damage a child’s brain. Toxic stress in a baby actually stops brain cells from growing and forming connections.
  • When a baby or young child experiences long, frequent or prolonged adversity, or trauma, without a caring and adequate adult response, it can lead to learning problems, behavioral issues, and physical and mental illness later in life.
  • Toxic stress in infancy and childhood can be caused by emotional or physical abuse, chronic neglect, exposure to violence or interacting with a parent who is stressed. Stress leads to angry, anxious or depressed feelings and behavior with others. Stressed parents often have a harder time with children, and may become more irritated or overwhelmed by parenting.
  • Recent research shows that early childhood trauma can play a serious role later in life. It can have a profound impact on the future well-being of families.
  • Parents who experienced early childhood trauma are especially vulnerable to stress. Building resilience for themselves and their children is vitally important.
  • Supportive relationships, role models, connecting to others in a community, and access to resources can help build resilience.
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