When parents are not equipped or not available, or otherwise overworked, overstressed and dealing with their own challenges, they can inadvertently create an environment where children are not getting the kind of nurturing that they require.
The childhood brain grows in relation to the expected experience of being connected and feeling loved (safe, seen and soothed) by their parents. Without it, there is a trauma to the brain and the heart and soul of the child, a painful experience where the child will actually start to adapt and create coping strategies. This can set in place a precursor to addictive behaviors in adolescents and adults.
Often parents themselves suffered a trauma in their own childhood, and the inter-generational trauma carries forward. And in some cases, trauma that hasn’t been dealt with and healed can actually impact the genes in the next generations. This is called epigenetics and can affect how people’s genes are expressed. Which means that the traumatic experiences of grandparents, and their responses to trauma, can impact their children and grandchildren genetically, as well as behaviourly.
It’s important to be aware of and understand the traumas of the generations before us; not to blame anyone, but rather to help us to heal, and to choose different responses for ourselves in our present and future situations.
“Pain travels through families until someone is ready to feel it.”
~ Stephi Wagner