Are you blessed with a cherished childhood experience? If yes, then you are one of the lucky fellows who got to grow up with love, affection and happiness. Some grow up oblivious to what’s been happening in the outside world that’s full of disappointments, sadness and misery and there are others who know about it but don’t/can’t do anything about it. Children are our prized possessions with their hearts pure and their thoughts clear. A child is like wet mud-just like how we can use the mud to create designs of our choice we can mold our kids to evolve into a person with the attributes and personality that’s been nurtured during their younger years. Though nature bestows certain personalities in kids its mostly nurture that dominates these attributes-the family that we grow in, the environment surrounding us and the people we interact with. Growing up in a family filled with love, care and joy surely affects the child in a positive way making him/her a good person at heart and a loving one to interact with. Whereas, children who have a bad childhood experience often grow up with depression, anxiety and other emotional problems that would take the efforts of another loving person who could cross their paths to sort out their traumatized childhood. Bad childhood experiences could be growing up in poverty, malnutrition, absence of love or care from parents and so on. Some others such as witnessing fights between parents, going through parents’ divorce traumas, being with a parent who suffers from mental illness or substance abuse problems or suffering from sexual, physical or emotional abuse are what we term adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
Take Care of Kids, Spare them of the Trauma
ACEs puts the person into stress which in turn affects the mental and physical health of the person putting their successive generations at greater risk. The severity of the outcome depends on identifying the adverse event in the child’s life at early stages and the future of the child’s health depends on the severity of these outcomes. The question that lingers in each of our minds is whether the risk of ACEs could be reduced or minimized when there are people who care and love for the kid at home or in the neighborhood? A study was conducted on 65,680 children aged between 6 and 17 years to find out answers to this question. Of the total lot almost 44% hadn’t suffered from ACEs, 25% were exposed to one type of ACE, 11% to two types of ACEs, 7% to three types and 13% to four or more types.
Research results published in Pediatrics journal shows that the number of ACEs was inversely proportional to school performance. On a comparative bases, those children exposed to four or more ACEs were 2 times likelier to repeat grades at school, 4 times likelier to regularly skip homework and thrice likelier to have a ‘don’t care’ attitude about school, studies or their improvement. But when the number of protective factors increased the outcomes at school too improved. Protective factors include safe neighborhoods, enough nutrition, absence of second-hand smoke and a positive parent-child communication, the last factor being the most important of all found in this study. The study shows that a parent who can communicate openly and meaningfully with the child opens the child to positive outcomes and improvements in life pushing away the ACEs from the child’s mind. In short, the parent’s relationship with the child can have a great impact on the child’s life. Kids who had six or more protective factors were less likely to repeat grades, skip homework or act carelessly about school in comparison to those with no more than three protective factors.
Identifying protective factors that are feasible for your family and implementing them can go a long way towards improving the child’s health and school performance. School outcomes determine a child’s wellbeing and health as it affects both, the mental and physical health of the kid. To understand how emotional wellbeing is important for an improved quality of life please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. When he/she studies more it means living longer and healthier which are attributes that can be passed over to the next generations as well.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.