ECE 210 Week 1 Assignment,
The three risk factors which influence behavior are Abuse, Difficult pregnancy, and trauma. Abuse sends a message to the child that “I don’t like you,” and it causes a child to be always “on guard” and hyper vigilant. Stress from difficult pregnancy alters our brain chemistry, and it can impact an unborn child. A study of pregnant women diagnosed with “just” depression and anxiety showed altered levels of serotonin, dopamine, etc. when they were mid-way through their pregnancy. A test on their 1-month-old newborn showed that the baby’s levels of those chemicals were identical to their stressed-out mommy! Abuse also forces children into a position of having to “hide the family secret”. This prevents children from having real relationships and has life-long effects. And because our ability to form healthy social relationships is learned, abused children are deprived of many skills necessary to navigate the social world. Their entire concept of a relationship is distorted. This leads to problematic relationships in life and even on the job. Another disturbing aspect of abuse is the experiential restraint it puts on children. If a child fears doing anything new because of the chance that it will lead to a violent attack or because an abusive parent keeps extremely tight control over them, the child will lose his or her sense of curiosity and wonder at the world and will stop trying new things and exercising his or her mind. That child will never achieve his or her intellectual potential. Children have different levels of resiliency or hardiness and different personality attributes, so different children respond differently to similarly abusive situations.