I was recently sent a link to The Mistakes Kids Makewebsite. While taking the quiz, I was reminded of the difference between the negligible costs of my mistakes, from the potentially life-changing payment my black, 22 year old son might face for making the same mistakes.
I think I will always remember the first time I read the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) studies, which draw a formidable link between experiences in our early lives (including abuse and neglect in the home, parents who suffer from mental illness, and exposure to violence) and our prospects for health and longevity.
In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook massacre, which left 20 innocent first-grade children dead; President Barack Obama took the leadership role to unveil a package of executive orders and legislative initiatives to improve the safety of our children and communities. This multi-pronged approach contained the welcomed idea to increase the focus on mental health in our schools and communities, including more support for school counselors, which is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.
When a mother goes to jail, the impact on her family can be devastating. Most moms are the primary caretakers for their children at the time of their arrest, and the sudden absence of a mother leaves a void in a child’s life that is almost impossible to fill. In most cases, relatives step forward to care for and support the child, and while we know that parental incarceration places children at unique risk for low self-esteem and behavior problems, with family support and ongoing contact with their moms, many of these children do well and even thrive.