The $#*! Kids Say

These quotes are uninhibited comments made by British children taken from a commercial airing in the UK for a nonprofit organization:

(little boy) I was 6 on the 50th of November.

(little girl) Do mommies teach babies how to laugh or do they know already?

(little girl) Dolly’s having a Vodka.  Have another vodka Mummy, you like it.  Have another vodka.

(little boy) I don’t have a bedtime because my Mum doesn’t get back until really late.

(little girl) Shut it, you’re doing my head in. I’m warning you.

(little boy) Can I go to your house?  (WHY?)  Because I don’t want to go back to my house.

(little girl) I’m a mistake.  It’s always my fault.

(little boy whispering) Daddy banged my eyes on the floor.  It’s a secret, I’m not allowed to tell.

The comments from the TV advertisement start out amusing cute as little kids often are.  But the young children’s comments that follow are alarmingly honest about their fears and show how they are shaped by what they see and experience.  This is a tender subject for me because I was abused as a child.  Even just writing that brings relieve.  My denial for many years only made the effects worse.

I experienced “covert sexual abuse” which comes from what a kid is exposed to.  I saw and heard way too much, way too young.  There was some physical abuse by the man I refer to as “the evil stepfather” with his tendency to take punishment too far. But the most damaging was neglect and being made to feel unloved and unwanted.

Susanne Babbel, Ph.D., M.F.T. wrote Child neglect is more common than you might think. Comfort, nourishment, shelter, and care should be things that a child can take for granted. Unfortunately, child neglect is a rampant problem that statistically exceeds child physical and sexual abuse in the U.S. The National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System defines neglect as a type of maltreatment that refers to the failure by the caregiver to provide needed, age-appropriate care although financially able to do so.

1) Physical Neglect – Children need basic necessities as everyone: food, clothing, shelter, but are reliant on others to provide these necessities.
2) Educational neglect – Failure to provide a child with adequate education.
3) Emotional neglect – Consistently ignoring, rejecting, verbally abusing, teasing, withholding love, isolating, or terrorizing a child.
4) Medical neglect – The failure to provide appropriate health care for a child (although financially able to do so).

The latter two were a constant part of my childhood while number one popped up from time to time.  I was lucky that school was a place that cost a lot less than daycare which allowed me the opportunity to get a good education.

Long and hard I have worked to overcome the trauma of my childhood and its effects are greatly diminished today.  I don’t blame my parents.  They were 18 and 19 years old when I was born and were basically “babies having a baby”.

The point I want to make is neglected children are in danger of not developing properly.  The hidden danger of child neglect – the one that may not be apparent for many years but which can stick with a person for their lifetime – is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  It can deeply affect a child psychologically and emotionally with long-term effects.  Children who experience neglect early in life may be at risk for a lifetime of trouble attaching properly in relationships.

I know all about PTSD, love avoidance, codependence, sexual compulsion, moderate depression and surviving childhood trauma as those six things are what professionals pointed out to me long ago as my ‘issues”.  I do not write here about my childhood baggage for sympathy or pity. Rather my intent and hope is two-fold:  1) To help parents see the impact their actions can have on their children and 2) to encourage adults who were abused as children to seek help and realize life can get better if you work at it.  I am living proof!

Intellectually I have come a million miles past my  ‘junk’ and most of the time it lives in remission.  When those old ghosts get loose today I am much better at withstanding their attacks than ever before.  And for that I am immensely grateful!

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of overcoming it.
Helen Keller

Go here for the complete TV commercial being aired in the United Kingdom by NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children):  link