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Children's Upbringing And How It Affects Their Mental Health as Adults

There is a saying in Swahili that says:

“Samaki mkunje angali mbichi”

In English, it means that it is easy to curve a fish while it’s raw. Children's upbringing is ultimately a seed of success and a healthy lifestyle. The environment we raise our children in should be a safe haven for them because if we fail to provide a healthy, friendly, safe and loving atmosphere, they end up having trauma.

What does Childhood trauma mean?

Nowadays, we famously have this frequently spoken phrase: Childhood trauma. It is the emotional response to a terrible event (either scary, dangerous, violent or life-threatening) that happened to a child between 0 and 18years. Some of these events could be abandonment issues, sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse, witness to an act of violence or emotional abuse.

When someone goes through these significant ranges of experiences at a young age, they are classified as psychological trauma. Unfortunately, parents usually take it lightly initially, yet its effects are portrayed later in adulthood.

For instance, most children raised in friendly, safe, stable families are more likely to have a healthy and successful life, unlike those who grew up in unstable homes with abuse, violence, and words of discouragement. The latter tend to have difficulties coping with their challenges in life, working mates, romantic relationships etc. Consequently, creating a healthy environment for themselves becomes challenging because they don’t even know what a healthy environment looks like. It is like "missing something that you never had,” which is impossible. And that is the actual reality of children who have undergone such trauma. Being positive with a healthy mindset and coping with challenges in a stable environment is a foreign language.

What can the victims do?

We are shaped by the experiences of our childhood memories that we have been through, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that defines us; we should acknowledge those feelings, thoughts and experiences that happened years ago and take the initiative to seek help from a professional. We shouldn’t let our past keep clouding our present and future. When we face and acknowledge our past trauma, they lose their power over us, and that’s the first step of becoming a better version of ourselves.

What do parents and to-be-parents know?

Lastly, I urge parents to provide a friendly environment for their children at home or even around them because it boosts and helps them with their mental health. More importantly, it creates a much bigger bond, and your child will be more comfortable letting you in when they face challenges. Should they cope with these challenges in different environments apart from home? It will be a bonus if they feel free to deal with them at home because this will lead to having a significant relationship between a parent and a child. This will create a feeling of belonging, worth, confidence, and self-awareness, which is essential, as they indeed have to stand up and defend themselves one day.

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