Essay about Ill Parents and Stress In Children

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“Why does my mommy always have to get sick?” (Sherkin 8). To children, a seriously ill parent can seem like the end of the world, and in some ways it is; it’s the end of the happy and carefree childhood that they had known before. The children are exposed to long hours in the hospital and to the emotions of both parents and family members. In short, the stress is usually more than children can handle without guidance. It causes strain on children’s lives and affects their mind, body, behavior and interactions with others. The effects are not just now, but in the future as well.
What is stress? It is a “response to any situation or factor that creates a negative emotional or physical change or both” (Stress IN Child). Stress is
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If there is not adequate support, the stress can turn toxic. Toxic stress results from intense adverse experiences that may be sustained over a long period of time – weeks, months or even years. “This type of stress can disrupt early brain development, compromise the functioning of important biological systems, and lead to long-term health problems” (Middlebrooks). In other words, toxic stress can cause immense problems in children both now and in the future as well.
A child under the stress of having a seriously ill parent would typically fall into the tolerable stress category. This is only true if the child has a supportive background to fall back to when life gets rough. If the parents, teachers, and other adult loved ones are not present for the child when they need them the most, toxic stress sets in (Burleson).
This is where you will see the majority of the effects on the children; it has the most impact. The stress can cause “developmental changes in the brain and body”, cause “your immune system to develop differently”, and it can “cause damage to the hippocampus [the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory]” (Burleson).
“The ability to manage stress is controlled by circuits and hormone systems that are activated early in life” (Middlebrooks). When the hormones are released and circulate throughout the body, the child is stressed and/or feels threatened. Prolonged exposure

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