Malleability is among the most prominent characteristics of a child. From birth and even in utero, the unique qualities of a child are being formed. Everything that a child experiences from life in the womb through adolescence is shaping him or her in a variety of ways. The intake valves of a child’s intellectual, psychological, social/emotional and physical engines are wide open. Everything makes an impact.
The good news is that this affords influencers of all sorts, the opportunity to help shape a child in positive and healthy ways. High quality fuel in right proportion will cause a child to thrive and enjoy peak performance.
Negatively, adverse experiences in the forms of abuse, neglect and environmental and contextual challenges can produce the opposite result, keeping a child from reaching his or her full potential and limiting the probability that they will influence others in positive ways as they mature.
Children who have experienced this kind of adversity face all sorts of difficulty, ranging from chronic stress and an inability to deal with it in healthy ways to premature death. Every facet of the person suffers the consequences that accompany adverse childhood experiences.
As hopeless as all of this sounds it is important to remember that the positive influence of even one caring adult on a child will go a long way toward the mitigation of the long-term effects of ACEs.
The more we understand about the things a child is facing and the long-term impact that those experiences are having, the better equipped we will be to lovingly help guide a child as they navigate the deep waters of life.