Negative Child Behavior A Symptom of Trauma At Home

A child’s negative behavior could be a symptom of the trauma he or she is experiencing at home. According to San Francisco based physician Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, the CEO of Center for Youth Wellness, many children are experiencing stressful situations such as neglect, abuse, parents who are in jail, and childhood health problems such as asthma and ADHD. Their negative experiences often result in a diagnosis of adverse childhood experiences, or childhood trauma brought on by these pressures of life.

Adverse childhood experiences may be the reason behind the high numbers of behavior based suspensions being issued in urban schools today. According to a recent article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, thousands of schools suspensions are issued to students from pre-school to high school age for behavior related disruptions in the learning environment. Students have received suspensions for throwing chairs, fighting, carrying drugs and illegal weapons.

According to the University of California-Los Angeles Civil Rights report on school to prision, Missouri, Delaware, Virginia and Illinois have the highest number of school suspensions. The data reveals African-American students suffer the highest number of suspensions in these states resulting in hours of educational instruction lost.

Suspensions may be a temporary fix from what is actually going on with these children who exhibit negative behavior in the classroom and in life at general. A deeper look into these children’s home life, may reveal adverse childhood experiences. The diagnosis followed up with appropriate psychological treatment could save them from becoming troubled adults suffering from the adverse childhood experiences – who often fill our jails today – will turn the tide.

Watch Dr. Burke Harris’ educational talk on childhood trauma on TED below.

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