The first day of school can be joyful for kids with coping skills and a supportive family at home.
Abused children (my kids) living with dysfunctional parents, have a more stressful school experience.
Violent parents, abusive parents, parents without parenting skills, language or reading skills or a dozen other social and learning skills, make school and social and educational experiences for their children anxiety ridden and painful.
The skills and ability to sit calmly in a small chair in a quiet room filled with other children listening to the teacher explain history, math and language are simply baked into most kids.
My kids, living with sex abuse, violence and other terrors and the realities of interrupted brain development, school is a nightmare from which there is no escape.
Years of medical science have shown how abuse and neglect interrupts brain development and alters how children learn and handle stress. Extreme anxiety, self-hate and self-harm accompany abuse. Abused children feel responsible for the bad things that are happening to them in the home.
Sitting in a classroom learning math, history or language requires a calm and focused mind – a thing foreign to traumatized children with high anxiety levels endemic to children suffering from abuse.
Behavioral problems abused children bring into the classroom lead to failures in socializing, learning and overall school failure.
About 1/3 of America’s foster children are forced onto Prozac like drugs.
In Texas, about 80% of boys in juvenile detention are forced to use them. Florida’s privatized group homes force 50% of state ward girls to use them. These troubled children fill our classrooms. 2/3 of the youth in juvenile justice have diagnosable mental illnesses.
Half that number have multiple, chronic and serious diagnosis – many of them dangerous to themselves and others.
Minnesota’s former Supreme Court Chief Justice Kathleen Blatz has stated that “90% of the youth in juvenile justice have come through child protection” and that “the difference between that poor child and a felon is about 8 years”.
Teachers without trauma informed skills are unable to manage traumatized kids – the drama escalates and often becomes frightening and dangerous. What’s it like for the teacher in a classroom of 35 children with one or two out of control children you don’t know how to handle, how to keep safe or how to keep them from hurting others.
That’s why teacher turnover is so high and schools struggle to achieve higher levels of performance and lower dropout rates.
Communities not providing early learning help, access to trauma informed care in schools and affordable quality daycare are not saving children, money or their communities. Instead, they are ruining children and insuring the next generation of abused and neglected children will soon be on their way to having their own next generation of abused and neglected children.
For the fiscally minded, ask yourself why educational costs per student are two to three times higher in America than in other industrialized nations and why our comparative learning scores, graduation rates and drop out rates are so much worse.
Schools, students and taxes suffer because at risk children carry their generational child abuse and trauma to school. Teachers need to be mental health workers to provide a safe learning environment. Even the most terrific educators struggle to manage the serious behavioral and learning problems traumatized children bring with them.
The expense of student and school failure to taxpayers is real and the cost to society of adults that can’t read or make sensible life choices makes a large segment of our society dysfunctional.
80% of youth aging out of foster care lead dysfunctional lives.
Recidivism in our jails and prisons is about 80%. The real cost of our social and educational failure must include the terrible personal price paid by the victims of extraordinary crime and violence that the rest of us have to live with.
Generational child abuse is epidemic in America.
Blaming the people doing the work is wrong – these folks work hard with few resources and impossible circumstances. Blaming children or their dysfunctional parents is useless and cruel.
To end this cycle of generational child abuse in your community;
Call your legislators and tell them that you support your communities schools, children and young families and you will vote for affordable daycare, quality mental health services and other early childhood programs.
Check out KARA’s resource links for other organizations that need help in your community.
Sign up for KARA’s Friday Morning Updates and share this with your friends (and especially teachers, social workers, law enforcement and health workers)