Over the past 6 weeks, I have been researching the effects of trauma on the early development of children and how parental response influences the outcome of the traumatic event for the child in the present and future.
It was a struggle when my family was in crisis to find appropriate help for our whole family, especially for my kids because they were so young. One of the things that motivated me to find help was I did not want the abuse that happened to be something kept in the dark. At 3 years old, the likelihood of my daughter's experience sinking into a blocked memory vault was very likely. Somehow I knew, before I was ready to acknowledge the abuse I had suffered so long ago, in order to prevent the abuse from becoming part of my kids life-long narrative, we needed help.
In my literature review, I looked at healthy attachment patterns in families with young children, how ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences - specifically child sexual abuse) can affect child development, disrupt healthy attachment and why early intervention is so important. The research I have looked at supports early intervention but stresses parental response as a key to preventing a crisis from becoming a traumatic experience. It's not all on parents though - which is a relief! Lord knows I was and still am not a perfect parent but there is evidence that having loving, trustworthy people surrounding us can also help fulfill the needs of children, helping them to grow into healthy adults.
If you're interested in reading the whole literature review and seeing my list of sources, I have attached my paper to this blog post. I am currently working on a response to these findings which is what The Butterfly Project is all about. I hope to have that completed by this time next week (I really hope so because it's due on Dec.7!) If you have any questions or comments I would love to hear from you! firstname.lastname@example.org