At some point in our lives, most of us will have to deal with a traumatic event. Trauma can be difficult for anyone to process, but it can be especially difficult for children. Unfortunately, being exposed to trauma is a way of life for many kids, and takes place in many forms: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence or gun violence. These experiences shape the way a child interacts with the world, and if left untreated, can lead to serious problems now, and in the future.
At Mercy Home, 86 percent of our children have suffered some form of abuse. Repeated exposure to trauma impacts people differently, but studies have shown that childhood trauma can lead to impulse control disorders. Impulsive behavior causes problems for children in their day to day lives, and as time goes on, their consequences become larger.
“We have some kids who are involved in high-risk behaviors,” said Dennis Bourne, an Admissions Clinician at Mercy Home. “Some kids who are doing things like jumping off bridges. We had one kid who was climbing around garages in the neighborhood.”
Dennis spends 2-4 hours with a child and their family when they first arrive at Mercy Home to get a sense of their background and how they might benefit from our care. Impulsive behavior manifests itself in different forms, but Dennis has seen a common pattern in his five years at Mercy Home.
“The majority of the impulsive behavior I’m seeing is impulsive aggression,” Dennis said.
It’s crucial to identify trauma and impulse-control disorders as early as possible. As time goes on, the consequences resulting from these negative behaviors begin to escalate.