A reader has asked me to suggest some books on emotional age and trauma. I have written some blog entries on emotional age and trauma here:
- Lost Developmental Stages of Abused Children
- “Stuck” at a Younger Developmental Stage
- Emotional Age and Abuse
- Parenting for Adopted Child’s Emotional Age
I also wrote a more in-depth series on my personal blog about unmet needs and the lost stages of development due to trauma, which begins here. I used Doris Bryant’s book Beyond Integration: One Multiple's Journey as the source for each lost stage of development, in part because it is so thorough and in part because it rang so true for my own lost stages of development due to child abuse.
Not only do children have to endure the physical signs and scars of sexual abuse, children who are being, or have been sexually abused commonly exhibit many different behavioral signs as well. Often, out of fear children keep quiet about the abuse that is happening to them, which is why it is so important for parents to know not only the physical signs of sexual abuse to look out for, but the behavioral signs as well. If your child is acting out with the behaviors listed below, he or she just may be screaming out for help the only way that they know how.
April is National Poetry month in the United States, so it is entirely appropriate that today's guest blogger is poet Karen Belanger. She has been in adoption activism, reform, education, search & reunion for about 10 years now. She says that writing about her adoption experiences and speaking publicly has been extremely affective for her in healing the trauma of abuse and rejection by her adoptive parents. She has also published a book of poetry titled "Assembling Self", an adoptee journey in poetry while trying to find her roots. These are some of her poems.
MSN's Health Channel has a lengthy feature about the effect of trauma on attention. Though the story opens with a focus on an adopted child, it draws on multiple studies to look at the prevalence of trauma in America--much more widespread than you would have thought--and its impact on different parts of the brain. And the writer (co-author of "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing") contends that what many are calling hyperactivity is actually hypervigilance because children who have been subjected to trauma are then constantly on the alert for danger. But buried halfway through the story is a bombshell: Children suffering the effects of trauma have elevated levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which are further raised by the drugs usually prescribed for attention deficit problems. It's not the first story to challenge the convention wisdom on ADHD, and it likely won't be the last.