I often hear parents, educators, and many concerned others ask the important question (in so many words): “Why has there been an increase in the incidence of various kinds of childhood problems?” We all want to understand why bullying is so rampant in schools today; why 1 in 150 births results in a child with Autism when just two decades ago it was closer to 1 in 10,000; why so many more children today appear to have ADHD, Bipolar, or depression. When I listen to panels of professionals answering these questions, I do not hear a discussion about the very real and profound impact of stress on the brain and nervous system, and ultimately on the conditions of our children’s lives. The sources of stress and daily pressure are innumerable, as are their consequences on babies developing in the womb, infants trying to bond, toddlers forming attachments, as well as children’s physiological states. It is long known that most of us are born with one genetic propensity or another that may or may not become realized depending upon a single critical factor – the presence or absence of stress. As I listen to the accounts of hundreds of troubled children describing their experiences it is clear to me that they are overwhelmed by ever increasing demands and expectations from teachers, coaches, parents, siblings, and peers. They experience peer pressure, sexual, cyber and other forms of bullying, as well as family reconfiguration that can often be confusing and painful. These have all become such “normal” parts of our children’s lives we fail to recognize their imprint. As we continue to study the effects of stress, crises, and other real events in our children’s lives, particularly on the brain, I believe we will have a clear understanding of why childhood problems have increased, and a clear direction on what to do about it. Less stress is best.
Please read You Can Heal Your Child to learn more.