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October 2, 2017
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Growing Up In Disadvantaged Areas May Affect teens Brains, But Good Parenting May Help

By: Sarah Whittle, Julian G.Simmons, Nick Allen

 

Summary & Analysis by:

Julius Patterson

 

  Growing up in disadvantaged areas may affect teens brains, but good parenting may help, states that growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood may have negative effects on a child’s brain development. Neighborhoods where there are more unemployed people, people who have low income jobs, people that are less educated and have less access to resources are considered disadvantaged. This type of environment may cause stress and can cause children to have physiological and social dilemmas.

   Research supports that growing up in a disadvantaged neighborhood may lead to lethargic cortical brain development. The stress of living in an impoverished community can cause these changes in the brain.  A underdeveloped frontal lobe can lead to distortion in sexual habits, socialization, attention, as well as heightened risk taking.

    On the other hand, this article shows ways to combat damage that may have been done to the brain due to living in a impoverished or deprived environment. GOOD POSITIVE PARENTING. Statistics show that parents that tend to express more positive behaviors during arguments and disagreements have kids with lower rates of depression. Behaviors such as displaying affection, comments that validate a child’s feelings, and use of humor affect different parts of the brain. These parts of the brain include the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe, cerebellum, and spinal cord.

(Pictured to the right, crime scene in the Strawberry Mansion section of North Philadelphia.)

As for me, growing up in the Strawberry Mansion Section of North Philly,  low income families, drugs, poverty, and crime were things I saw everyday in this particular area of Philly. It was a norm for me to see people standing on the corner selling drugs,  and people doing drugs. I lived in a poverty stricken community until I was about 13 years old. Everything around me was in turmoil.

All in all, I had two good parents who showed me affection, disciplined me, and reasoned with me. They instilled in me morals and values that I would need later on in life. Yes, I made some mistakes and learned a few lessons along my journey of life, but nevertheless it was good, positive parenting that made me into the man I am today.

     How does this relate to trauma?  For me, this shows the importance of the Expanded Ace Survey which relates more to environmental trauma outside of the home. For instance; Question number one asks, “Did you feel safe in your neighborhood?”. Most “disadvantaged” neighborhoods have a high  crime rate which produces a higher security risk for residents within the community. Also, Question number four asks, “How often, if ever did you see or hear someone being beaten up or stabbed?”. Because of the heightened crime rate in these “disadvantaged” neighborhoods; it is almost inevitable for some to see or hear gunshots, ambulance or police sirens, and people always fighting. The Expanded Ace Survey studies the relationship between growing up in an urban community and stress levels. It is much deeper than what goes on inside the house, there are also outside factors when dealing with trauma.

        There are also trauma informed ways to combat the distress that these ACEs have put on the brain. Parents must be willing to look at their kids in a trauma informed perspective, acknowledge what’s in their kids “invisible backpack”, and most importantly sympathize and empathize.

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