Articles for Parents

Everything listed under: single

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    Steps for Keeping the Peace in Broken Homes

    “How do I get my ex to be consistent with discipline?”

    “Sometimes I find it very hard not to talk bad about my ex in front of the children.”

    “There is nothing that will make my blood pressure go up faster than when my ex says they will do something and they don’t.”

    “I honestly believe my ex does things intentionally to get back at me.”

    In the aftermath of a divorce, people often realize that instead of being better off as they hoped, they have traded one set of problems for another. There are a lot of frustrated moms and dads who don’t understand why they can’t agree on anything after the divorce when it comes to parenting.

    Life is Different

    Even though you have lived with this person for a number of years, you are now learning how to live separate lives while still parenting your children well. There may be things your ex is doing that you totally don’t agree with, but you have to figure out how to work within the boundaries of your new relationship - while always considering what will be in the best interest of your children.

    For starters, it is important for you to plan how you will manage as a single parent.

    • Get organized. Make a plan for moving forward. Take time to sort through activities, job demands, a budget, available resources, friends who can provide support and backup, etc. This will help you to be more in control of your situation and to focus on what is important.
    • Focus on family. Set expectations, keep the lines of communication open, establish boundaries and set aside time to be together as a family.
    • Throw perfection out the window. It isn’t about having it all together. It is more about doing the best you can under difficult circumstances.
    • Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. There are resources available, but you have to make the connection. Neighbors, church friends and co-workers are often ready and willing to step up to the plate when you need them.
    • Take one day at a time. After you have put a plan together, don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.

    This transition time can be very challenging. Having a plan in place will help you bring some order into your life and help you keep your cool when things don’t go as planned with your ex.

    Keep the Children out of the Middle

    An old African proverb says, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”

    “Biological parents who fight and refuse to cooperate are trampling on their most prized possession - their children,” says stepfamily expert Ron Deal. “Elephants at war are totally unaware of what is happening to the grass because they are far too consumed with the battle at hand. Little do they know how much damage is being done.”

    Parents who want to reduce the negative effects of divorce on their children should strive to be effective co-parents because it reduces between-home conflict and increases cooperation. Taming your tongue, for example, is critical to cooperating. Conflict containment starts with controlling your speech. You cannot be an effective co-parent without doing so.

    “Parents have to remember and accept the fact that while they can end a marriage to someone, they will never stop being parents,” Deal says. “While you may be relieved to be out of the marriage, your children have been in a transitional crisis. How well they recover from that crisis has a lot to do with you, the parents. The key to successful co-parenting is separating the dissolution of your marriage from the parental responsibilities that remain.”

    According to Deal, children successfully adjust to the ending of their parents’ marriage and can fare reasonably well if:

    • The parents are able to bring their marital relationship to an end without excessive conflict.
    • Children are not put into the middle of whatever conflicts exist.
    • There is a commitment from parents to cooperate on issues of the children’s material, physical, educational and emotional welfare.

    Many ex-spouses have great difficulty cooperating about anything, let alone the nurturing and disciplining of their children. That does not absolve you of the responsibility to try. Your children deserve your best effort.

    Co-parenting does not mean sharing all decisions about the children or that either home is accountable to the other for their choices, rules or standards. Each household should be autonomous, but share responsibility for the children. It also does not mean that rules or punishment from one home cross over to the other home.

    For example, if your child gets in trouble on Thursday and he loses his television privileges, in an ideal world it would be great if your ex were willing to enforce the consequence over the weekend. That may not happen in reality, so the actual consequence would go into effect when your child returns home to you Sunday evening. Telling your ex that he/she has to enforce your consequence usually leads to more conflict between the two of you and more angst for your child.

    Deal believes effective co-parenting should look something like this:

    • Work hard to respect the other parent and his or her household.
    • Schedule a monthly “business” meeting to discuss co-parenting matters. Make a list of things that need to be discussed. A word of caution: Do not discuss your personal life or that of your ex. If the conversation drifts away from the children, redirect it toward your children and their activities, schedules, etc.
    • Never ask your children to be spies or tattle-tales on the other home. The goal is to decrease distress, not create more. If you hear information about what happened while they were with their other parent, listen and stay neutral.
    • When children have confusing or angry feelings toward your ex, don’t capitalize on their hurt and berate the other parent.
    • Children should have everything they need in each home. Don’t make them bring basics back and forth.
    • Try to release your hostility toward the other parent so that the children can’t take advantage of your hard feelings. Bitterness, hurt and anger keep you from being the person and the parent your children need.
    • Do not disappoint your children with broken promises or by being unreliable.

    In the midst of a complicated and difficult situation, you have the opportunity to show integrity, honor and respect. Even when you don’t like someone anymore or you don't think they deserve it, you can still find a way to be respectful.

    • Make your custody structure work for your children even if you don’t like the details of the arrangement.
    • If you plan to hire a babysitter for more than four hours while the children are in your home, give the other parent first rights to that time.
    • Suggest that younger children take a favorite toy or game as a transitional object.
    • If you and your ex cannot resolve a problem, change in custody or visitation, agree to problem-solve through mediation rather than litigation.

    Moving On

    “The reality is many parents who were poor marriage partners are good parents and their children enjoy them very much,” Deal shares. “Give your ex-spouse the opportunity to be wonderful with the children, even if he/she wasn’t wonderful with you.”

    You are traveling in uncharted waters. While you probably have friends who have experienced this and are willing to give you advice, it may not be right for your family.

    A father once said that it had been six months since his divorce and it was time for his “kid” to get over it. Children of divorce don’t ever “get over it.” They may learn how to cope with it, but every day for the rest of their lives they will have to make decisions that are a result of their parents' divorce.

    As time goes by, you may feel like you are moving on, adjusting and putting this chapter in your life behind you. However, this is not something your children will ever “put behind them.” At every turn your child will gain new insights and more questions. They must understand the divorce was not their fault. Equally as important is being intentional about modeling healthy relationship skills with your children.

    Additional Resources:

    The Smart Stepfamily: Seven steps to a Healthy Family – Ron Deal

    Parenting After Divorce: How to Work Together with Your Ex-Spouse for Happier, Healthier Children – Ron Deal

    The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce – Judith Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis and Sandra Blakesless

    What About the Kids?: Raising Your Children Before, During and After Divorce – Judith Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee

    Smart Stepfamilies

    Looking for more? Check out this video by JulieB TV on this topic!


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    5 Ways to Rise to the Challenge of Single Parenting

    The challenges of single parenting are many. Holding down a job, taking care of the children’s needs and household repairs, and a whole host of other things vie for the 168-hour week. How do single parents make it through the trials and come out feeling good about themselves and their children?

    When Martin Luther King III was asked how his mother handled being a single parent, he responded, “My mother did the best she could. She surrounded us with caring adults, including my grandmother, who loved us and provided structure and security to help us grow to be responsible adults.” 

    Census reports indicate there has been a significant increase in single-parent households. In fact, more than 13.7 million men and women find themselves in the position of parenting alone. Things that have never been issues before are now on the radar screen, often producing anxiety, fear and many sleepless nights. 

    “I have been a single parent of three for six years,” says Richard.* “I didn’t know a soul when I moved here and had no family support. The biggest obstacle for me was keeping all of the balls up in the air. I was launching a new business and trying to keep my family going.” 

    Richard describes his transition into single parenthood as highly emotional.  

    “I was living in a one-bedroom place,” Richard says. “At the outset it was very difficult. I realized I was insecure emotionally. I remember taking lunch hours to do laundry at the laundromat.”

    Fortunately, Richard found resources that were available to assist in his parenting efforts. 

    “The aftercare program at school was a lifesaver,” Richard shares. “There were teachers and friends who helped out in many ways. We were befriended by many people to whom I will always be grateful.”

    If you’re a single parent trying to find your way, here are some helpful suggestions from seasoned single parents:

    • Get organized. Make a plan for moving forward. Take time to sort through activities, job demands, a budget, available resources, etc. This will help you to be more in control of your situation and to focus on what is important.

    • Focus on family. Set expectations, establish boundaries, keep the lines of communication open and set aside time to be together as a family.

    • Throw perfection out the window. It isn’t about having it all together. It is about doing the best you can under difficult circumstances. 

    • Ask for help. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. There are resources available, but you have to make the connection. Neighbors, church friends and co-workers are often ready and willing to step up to the plate. 

    • Take one day at a time. After you have put a plan together, don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture. 

    After going through the trauma of a breakup, loss or abandonment, it’s easy to shy away from asking for help for fear of being seen as weak. Most single parents will say this is not how they wished things would be. But over time, many single moms and dads realize the experience has made them stronger and that it is truly okay to ask for help. 


    Looking for more? Check out this episode of JulieB TV on this topic!


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    If I Were Your Daddy

    Julia Espey was a retired NASA researcher and single mom. While walking through a New York park with her 4-year-old son one afternoon, she realized that she had to be both mom and dad for her child.

    “It was an overwhelming moment,” says Espey. “I knew how to put a 20-ton aircraft in space, but I didn’t know how to guide my 20-pound son. I started looking for respectable men who were successful in every area of life – work, family, etc. Then, I asked them to share how they raised their children, why they did the things they did and how it worked out. My goal was to learn from the best examples and then surround my son with great male role models.”

    Espey interviewed 35 very successful men from all walks of life. She asked them to complete this sentence, "If I were your daddy, this is what you’d learn." This ultimately became the title of her book.

    She was surprised to find that many of them, despite their significant successes, had never been asked to share their thoughts about parenting.

    “Greg Link, who teaches leadership and critical thinking nationwide, shared the ‘OREO technique,’” Espey says. “When his children were young he began teaching them how to make good choices on their own. They would sit as a family and do the OREO:

    • What is the Opportunity?

    • Are Risks Involved?

    • In what kind of Environment will you be?

    • What are the potential Outcomes?

    "As the children practiced this in their younger years, it became second nature to them. When they became teenagers and had much tougher decisions to make, they automatically turned to OREO.”

    Espey used the men's input to go from feeling overwhelmed to applying what she learned in an effort to parent her son well.

    “As I talked with these men, I moved from fearful to calm in my parenting,” Espey says. “I became very intentional about inviting male friends who shared my values over for dinner to spend time around my son. Since writing the book, I have remarried and have used many of the techniques I learned while writing the book to help us navigate the road of becoming a healthy stepfamily.”

    Espey wants parents to use this book as a mentor guide to improve their successes with their kids. She also hopes it will help parents better cope with challenges, identify their children's uniqueness, and provide strong family support.

    "These men speak from their heart, sharing words of wisdom for those of us in the midst of raising kids,” Espey says. “I appreciated their vulnerability to share personal stories about dealing with kids on the edge, mistakes they had made and lessons learned. I also recognized that it was not wise for me to try and parent alone. Whether I ever remarried or not, I had plenty of friends and family who could mentor my son.”

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    Dating as a Single Parent

    Morris lost the love of her life in 1991 when her husband, Steve, died of cancer.

    “It was a very difficult time,” says Morris. “I was grieving the loss of my husband in addition to taking care of three toddlers who didn’t really understand what happened to their daddy. One minute we were a happy family - and the next minute I found myself without my helpmate and a single parent - something I never dreamed I would be.”

    According to experts, many parents never plan to raise their children alone, but due to life circumstances they are doing just that. While they would like to find someone to fall in love with who would accept the “total package,” the thought of entering the dating scene again seems awkward and difficult to manage with children.

    “Although I was lonely, I felt like my first priority had to be my children,” Morris says. 

    “For the first year after my husband’s death, I tried to focus on what my children needed. Plus, I needed time to grieve and heal. I relied on family and close friends for support and encouragement. It wasn’t until almost a year had passed that I even considered the idea of another man in my life. I prayed that God would send me someone who would be interested in me and my boys, which was no small request!”

    Friends set Morris up on several blind dates, none of which were good matches. Shortly after that, Morris packed up her family and moved from Atlanta back to Chattanooga.

    “Right before we moved, I asked my oldest son, who was 5 at the time, what he wanted me to look for in a new daddy,” Morris shares. “Many of the things he wanted were on my list as well. The last two items on his list were that the man not have any other wife, and no children. I thought that was interesting coming from a 5-year-old.

    “During the time I was dating there were some pretty awkward moments that I can laugh about now. For example, my two other boys were so young, it was hard for them to understand anything more than I was looking for a new daddy. As we were moving into our new home, a neighborhood high school guy came by to welcome us. One of the boys greeted him at the door by asking, ‘Are you going to be my new daddy?’”

    Morris only went out with five men before she met the man who would become her husband and a father to her three boys. She decided early in the dating process that while she would protect her boys, she would allow her dates to meet them and vice versa. She also put together a list of questions to ask if she felt like the relationship was getting serious.

    “I was cautious about who I would go out with because I knew there would be many who could not handle the fact that marrying me meant becoming an instant father,” Morris says.

    If you're a single parent, experts encourage you not to rush into dating and to be thoughtful about how you handle the dating process. Here are a few things to consider:

    • Are you ready to date? Don’t let others pressure you into dating before you are ready. Make sure you have dealt with your grief and other issues that can potentially taint a dating relationship. Sometimes you need professional help to sort through your emotions.

    • Have you given thought to what you are looking for in a date? Dating can be complicated for a single parent. Just finding the time to date, not to mention childcare, can be a real challenge. Make sure the person is worth your time and energy.

    • Will you allow your date to meet your children or will you meet at a different place? Keep in mind that it may be hard on children forming attachments to people, only to have them leave.

    “I think being a single parent is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do,” Morris says. “It is a pretty vulnerable place to be. You really need good, solid friends who can be a support while you are going through this awkward dating thing. Solid relationships are key. When we have to go through very difficult times, it helps to have one person we can share the hard things with. Sometimes that is what can help us get through the best.”

    Morris met her current husband, Jay, in January of 1994. Their first date was in February. By June, Morris knew she had found her man. They married in October and a year and a half later, Jay Morris adopted the three boys.

    For more insight on parenting, download our E-book, "10 Tips for Blended Families." Download Here

    Looking for more? Check out this JulieB TV episode on this topic!


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    How to Navigate the Holidays as a Divorced Parent

    For so many, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a beautiful season sprinkled with festive events and family gatherings. For parents who are divorced and sharing their children over the holidays with their other parent however, this can be the beginning of a very complicated time.

    “I grew up as a child of divorce, was a single mother for eight years and am now remarried,” says author and marriage and family therapist, Tammy Daughtry. “I know firsthand how difficult and chaotic the holidays can be for children going between two homes, not to mention the emotional turmoil that can come from expectations of creating the ‘perfect Christmas.’”

    Joey, now 41, recalls his saddest moments of Christmas were seeing his mom cry when he left to visit his dad. 

    “Like many children of divorce, Joey hated to see his mom fall apart when he left for the holidays with his dad,” Daughtry says. “Thinking that it was his job to make her happy, he felt sad and like it was his fault. He felt guilty about having fun with his father. At 9, he described feeling like he needed to call his mom every day while he was away to make sure she was alright. As an adult looking back, he wishes someone had been there to tell his mom to pull herself together and not place that kind of pressure on him. Joey said the mental image of his mom sitting at home crying, alone and sad caused enough guilt to last more than my lifetime.”

    Daughtry not only has personal experience with this issue, but she also works with stepfamilies to help them navigate situations such as these. If you are in the midst of co-parenting, Daughtry’s suggestions can help you make this shared Christmas bright for your children.

    • Confirm that your children are loved and secure in both homes.

    • Allow your child to share the joy they feel at their other home. Affirm their joy with a healthy response.

    • Create a photo collage of your child with their other parent and give it to them as a gift this year. Encourage your child to hang it in their room at your house.

    • Purchase a large corkboard and encourage your child to put special tokens and mementoes of their other parent and their family on the board - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - as a way to celebrate both sides of the family.

    Additionally, Daughtry has some ideas for making your own Christmas celebration brighter, especially if you’ll be celebrating Christmas without the children:

    • Invite a friend to be there as your children leave or to ride along as you drop them off so you won’t be completely alone initially.

    • Be kind to yourself by acknowledging the pain you may feel, but plan ahead to care for yourself. You might even create your own extra-fun experience instead of becoming an emotional trainwreck.

    • Don’t sulk at home alone. Make plans to be with family or friends.

    • Get together with a single parent who is also celebrating without the children this year.

    • Volunteer somewhere and give to others in need.

    “We often don’t know what we are capable of handling until we have to do it,” says Daughtry. “Be intentional about taking care of yourself which will help you be strong for your children. Give yourself permission to re-frame and redefine your expectations as a parent. You might be surprised how much joy you actually experience this holiday season.”

    For more insight on parenting, download our E-book "10 Tips for Blended Families". Download Here


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    5 Ways You Can Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

    What percentage of childhood sexual abuse victims know their abuser? Where might you find someone who sexually abuses children? What percentage of child sexual abuse victims tell someone about the abuse? What percentage of child sexual abuse reports by children are fabricated?

    Unfortunately, most people don't want to spend time thinking about this topic. But for the sake of children, it requires your attention. About 1 in 10 children will experience sexually abuse before turning 18.

    It might surprise you to to learn that about 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know their abuser.

    Perhaps you've been led to believe that child sexual abusers look like shady characters. If so, think again. According to Darkness to Light, a website devoted to ending child sexual abuse, those who molest children usually look and (mostly) act just like everyone else. 

    You can find people who sexually abuse children in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, youth sports leagues and any other place children gather.

    And it is important to realize that abusers can be and often are other children, although most adolescent sex offenders are not sexual predators and will not go on to become adult offenders.

    Researchers estimate that 38 percent of child victims disclose their sexual abuse. Of these, 40 percent tell a close friend. This means that the vast majority of child sexual abuse victims never report the abuse to authorities. Research suggests, however, that such disclosure rates may be increasing. And it is estimated people only fabricate 4 to 8 percent of child sexual abuse reports.

    Who is most at risk?

    • Family structure is the most important risk factor in child sexual abuse. Children who live with two married biological parents are at low risk for abuse.

    • Children living without either parent are 10 times more likely to be sexual abuse victims than children who live with both biological parents.

    • Those who live with a single parent that has a live in partner are 20 times more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents.

    • Females are five times more likely to experience abuse than males.

    • While there is risk for children of all ages, children are most vulnerable to abuse between the ages of 7 and 13.

    • The risk for sexual abuse is tripled for children whose parent(s) are not in the labor force.

    Who are perpetrators looking for?

    First, you should know that perpetrators say they look for passive, quiet, troubled, lonely children from single parent or broken homes. Abusers frequently seek out children who are particularly trusting, working proactively to establish a relationship with them before abusing them. They might also seek to establish a trusting relationship with the victim’s family as well.

    So, what can you do?

    Step 1: Learn the facts- Reading this is a great start.

    Step 2: Minimize the risk- Eliminate or reduce isolated, one-on-one situations to decrease risk for abuse.

    Step 3: Talk about it- Have open conversations with children about our bodies, sex, and boundaries.

    Step 4: Recognize the signs- Know the signs of abuse to protect children from further harm.

    Step 5: React responsibly- Understand how to respond to risky behaviors and suspicions or reports of abuse.

    As concerned community citizens, everyone can take action against child sexual abuse.

    Finally, if you want know more about how you can protect children from sexual abuse, visit Darkness to Light. You'll find more resources, along with a downloadable booklet for families and communities that outlines the steps you can take.

    For even more information:

    • If you suspect abuse, call 1-877-237-0004 in Tennessee, or 1-800-4-A-CHILD nationwide

    • Children’s Advocacy Center -423-266-6918

    • Chattanooga Kids on the Block – 423-757-5259

    • Partnership for Children Families and Adults - 423-697-3812

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    The Economics of Parenting

    There are plenty of different perspectives about the best way to raise children. Some believe hovering helps children get ahead. Others think less supervision encourages children to figure things out for themselves. Some believe extracurricular activities are vital. Others - not so much.

    The list could continue, but safety and access to enriching environments are major issues.

    A Pew Research Center survey of 1,807 U.S. parents with children younger than 18 finds huge differences in parenting based on income. Financial instability can limit lower-income children’s access to a safe environment. It also affects the availability of enrichment activities that affluent parents may take for granted. Here are the facts.

    • Higher-income parents are nearly twice as likely to rate their neighborhood as an “excellent” or “very good” place to raise kids.

    • One-third of parents with annual family incomes less than $30,000 say that their neighborhood is only a “fair” or “poor” place to raise kids.

    • Lower-income parents are more likely to have concerns about their children being victims of violence. At least half of those with family incomes less than $30,000 worry that their kids might be kidnapped or get physically attacked.

    • About half of lower-income parents worry their children might be shot at some point, more than double the share among higher-income parents.

    The survey also showed that:

    • Lower-income parents of school-age children face more challenges finding affordable, high-quality after-school activities and programs than higher-income parents.

    • About half families who make less than $30,000 annually say these programs are hard to find in their community, compared with 29 percent of those with incomes of $75,000 or higher.

    • Far more children of higher-income parents engage in sports or organizations such as Scouts or take lessons in music, dance or art.

    • 84 percent of high-income parents say their children participated in sports in the 12 months before the survey, compared to 59 percent among lower-income parents.

    Concerns about teen pregnancy and legal trouble are also more prevalent among lower-income parents.

    • Half of lower-income parents worry that their child or one of their children will get pregnant or get a girl pregnant as a teen, compared with 43 percent of higher-income parents.

    • By 2-to-1 margin, more lower-income say they worry that their children will get in legal trouble at some point.

    Regardless of income, at least half of all parents worry that their children might be bullied or struggle with anxiety or depression someday. For those with annual family incomes of $75,000 or higher, these concerns trump all others tested in the survey.

    Researchers believe the dramatic changes in family living arrangements have contributed to the growing share of children living at the economic margins. In 2014, 62 percent of children younger than 18 lived with two married parents – a historic low, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. census data. The share of U.S. kids living with only one parent stood at 26 percent in 2014. Also, households with two unmarried parents have risen steadily in recent years.

    These patterns differ sharply across racial and ethnic groups.

    • Large majorities of white (72 percent) and Asian-American (82 percent) children live with two married parents, as do 55 percent of Hispanic children.

    • Only 31 percent of black children have two married parents, while more than half (54 percent) live in a single-parent household.

    The economic outcomes for these types of families vary dramatically.

    • In 2014, 31 percent of children in single-parent households lived below the poverty line, as did 21 percent of children living with unmarried parents.

    • Only 1 in 10 children living with two married parents were in this circumstance. In fact, more than half (57 percent) of married-parent households had incomes at least 200 percent above the poverty line.

    • Just 21 percent of those in single-parent households had incomes at least 200 percent above the poverty line.

    There are clearly many variables that promote the safety and well-being of children. The harder question is: How can we improve the quality of life for all children?

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    The Effects of Childhood Trauma

    Of the 76 million children living in the United States, a staggering 60 percent (46 million) of them will experience violence, abuse, crime and psychological trauma before they turn 18. That's according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

    Believe it or not, home life plays a huge part in these statistics. Specifically, children from single-parent homes seem to be at higher risk for adverse childhood experiences than those who live with both parents.

    The National Survey of Children’s Health asked parents of 95,677 children under 18 if their kids had ever seen or heard “any parents, guardians or any other adults in the home slap, hit, kick, punch or beat each other up.” Nineteen of every 1,000 children living with their two married biological parents experienced that type of behavior. Sadly, the exposure rate was seven times higher (144 children per 1,000) in homes with a divorced or separated mother. These comparisons are adjusted for differences across age, sex, race, family income, poverty status and parent’s education level.

    In an Institute for Family Studies article, Nicholas Zill, a psychologist and child and family well-being researcher with more than 40 years of experience, writes:

    “Experiencing family violence is stressful for children, undercuts their respect and admiration for parents who engage in abusive behavior, and is associated with increased rates of emotional and behavioral problems at home and in school. For children of never-married mothers who witnessed family violence, 58 percent had conduct or academic problems. Among children of divorced or separated mothers, nearly half of those exposed to family violence, 48 percent, had had conduct or academic problems at school.”

    So, how do adverse childhood experiences affect children long-term? Do they set the stage for greater difficulty later in life? Are children resilient? 

    Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, studied more than 17,000 adults to find out. It examined the links between traumatic childhood experiences (abuse, neglect and family dysfunction including divorce, incarceration, substance abuse and mental health issues) and current adult health and well-being. 

    According to that study, exposure to adverse childhood experiences hinders the ability to form stable and healthy adult relationships. Plus, those experiences increase risk for:

    • Experiencing substance abuse;

    • Depression;

    • Cardiovascular disease;

    • Diabetes;

    • Cancer; and

    • Premature death.

    In contrast, healthy relationships at home, school and in the community can nurture a child’s physical and emotional growth. Children need these types of relationships from birth forward in order to thrive and grow into productive adults. 

    What can you do?

    • Create a safe and stable home for your kids. 

    • Actively engage in your child's life.

    • Learn skills to help you manage and resolve conflict.

    • Take parenting classes for various ages and stages.

    • Make sure your neighborhood is a safe place.

    Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments are among the most powerful and protective forces in a child’s life. So in order to promote healthy child development, we must be diligent to create those safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. As a community, we all share responsibility for the well-being of our children.