Don’t forget the children who live and cope with PTSD as victims in a toxic home… If there is motivation for parents to seek immediate treatment, it is to protect children…

by | Dec 14, 2013

Steve Sparks, age 10 in 1956…”The too terrible to remember 50’s.”

    Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

Ginger Kadlec…”The War Within: PTSD”  Quote from this website article…

“Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often associated with war or combat veterans who have experienced physical injury, assault or threat of death. It imposes profound, lingering impacts that can often last a lifetime. Children who are victims of physical or sexual abuse or neglect have their own first-hand accounts of combat… and can sometimes suffer from PTSD as a result.”

I am also quoted in this article…

“I know from my own childhood experience that a toxic home means kids can be affected with the same symptoms of PTSD as parents who suffer from traumatic events in life… including combat stress. Mental and physical abuse was a big secret in our home as a young boy growing up following WWII and the Korean War.  It was a lonely and isolated world.  A no way out feeling.  We didn’t talk about it, we lied to our friends, coaches, and teachers.  We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it.  We siblings even took it out on each other to vent our anger toward the crazy world at home.
“It was a challenge to get up each day and face the world as a young boy. The name of the game was dodging bullets and hiding while our parents acted out in anger and emotional numbness. We didn’t feel loved or cared about that much. My goal was to survive until age 17 and join the US Navy to get away from all of it forever… but we abused children carry the emotional baggage forward. It took me most of my adult life to get all the emotional garbage sorted out and achieve some peace of mind.”

It continues to be surprising to me that most of the focus on PTSD is on adults, parents and combat veterans.  I am always asking the question of why we do not talk about our kids and how the toxic family culture created by PTSD causes secondary PTSD and even complex PTSD in children who live with this sort of traumatic life style day in and day out.  Are we in denial as parents?  Do we assume our children to be resilient and not affected by our own bad behaviors resulting from emotional challenges and mental health issues?  The fact is that children inhale and store the pain of parents, worry constantly, but generally have no outlet to vent or receive help.  Kids are essentially ignored in the mix and sent away to fend for themselves.  This was the reality in my family, and it still happens today even though we know better now.  Parents do not like to admit to emotional neglect or the potential of child abuse that often comes from a home suffering from the symptoms of PTSD.  When the subject of children enters into to the conversation regarding PTSD, parents are nowhere to be found…  It is the fear of the unknown and the preoccupation of the parents own emotional challenges that keep kids at a distance.  The reality is our children can be damaged for a lifetime with their own PTSD symptoms if we don’t pay attention.

My remarks in this post are harsh on parents…  But it is obvious in the work I do in PTSD awareness that kids are left out of the discussion for the most part.  I encourage parents to step back and start talking to children about the subject of PTSD and what the kids are feeling.  For me, it was a scary and a sometimes horrific environment while growing up in the 1950’s.  And during those years there was really no awareness about PTSD at all.  We took each day at a time…it was purely a game of survival at home.

So, as said in the title of this post…  “Don’t forget the children who live and cope with PTSD as victims in a toxic home…  If there is motivation for parents to seek immediate treatment, it is to protect children…”  Please start today!

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story



About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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