Posted on 1/28/2013 1:19 PM
As stated in our previous blog, many children of inmates experience “toxic stress” at a young age due to lack of adult support in stressful conditions. This type of stress can have lasting affects on a child’s life.
Let’s explore this further.
The book, “How Children Succeed” by Paul Tough, describes how childhood stress can have long lasting neural effects, making it harder to exercise self-control and focus attention, as well as delay gratification and other feelings that contribute to a happy life.
Studies have shown that children who have experienced toxic stress have difficulty focusing in school, developing healthy relationships with their peers, as well as trusting authority, according a An ACES Too High blog. These children often cope with their high anxiety and depression by turning to alcohol, nicotine, anti-depressants, food or even work. This can lead to addictions, which can then lead to a slew of health issues like emphysema, lung cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a stroke to name a few.
Imagine if we could somehow prevent or reduce the number of traumatic experiences children face. It would have wide-reaching affects on all types of domestic issues, such as healthcare, education and crime.
But how can we do that?
For starters, it would help if these children have adult support during their times of need.
That’s why children of prisoners need to see their parents, when appropriate. The visits can help alleviate the stress in their lives. It’s an important step in stabilizing these children and pointing them in the right path in life.
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