Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Comments by Frank Sterle Jr.

Showing 10 of 10 comments.

  • When I asked a teachers’ union official over the phone (in 2017) whether there is any childrearing or child-development science curriculum taught in any school district, he immediately replied there is not. When I asked the reason for its absence and whether it may be due to the subject matter being too controversial, he replied with a simple “Yes”.

    This strongly suggests there are philosophical thus political obstacles to teaching students such crucial life skills as nourishingly parenting one’s children. To me, it’s difficult to imagine that teaching parenting curriculum would be considered more controversial than, say, teaching students Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) curriculum, beginning in Kindergarten, as is currently taught in many public schools.

    By not teaching child-development science to high school students, is it not as though societally we’re implying that anyone can comfortably enough go forth with unconditionally bearing children with whatever minute amount, if any at all, of such vital knowledge they happen to have acquired over time? I feel it is.

    A psychologically sound as well as a physically healthy future should be all children’s foremost human right—especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter—and therefore basic child development science and rearing should be learned long before the average person has their first child.
    _____

    “I remember leaving the hospital thinking, ‘Wait, are they going to let me just walk off with him? I don’t know beans about babies! I don’t have a license to do this. We’re just amateurs’.” —Anne Tyler, Breathing Lessons

    “It’s only after children have been discovered to be severely battered that their parents are forced to take a childrearing course as a condition of regaining custody. That’s much like requiring no license or driver’s ed[ucation] to drive a car, then waiting until drivers injure or kill someone before demanding that they learn how to drive.” —Myriam Miedzian, Ph.D.

  • Too many people will procreate regardless of their questionable ability to raise their children in a mentally healthy/functional manner. If society is to avoid the most dreaded, invasive and reactive means of intervention — that of governmental forced removal of children from dysfunctional/abusive home environments — maybe we then should be willing to try an unconventional proactive means of preventing some future dysfunctional/abusive family situations. Being free nations, society cannot prevent anyone from bearing children. Society can, however, educate all young people for the most important job ever, even those who currently plan to remain childless.

    Sometimes I can’t help wondering: how many instances there have been wherein immense long-term suffering by children of dysfunctional rearing might have been prevented had the parent(s) received, as high school students, some crucial child development science education by way of mandatory curriculum?

    I’d like to see such curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, which could also include neurodiversity, albeit not overly complicated. If nothing else, the curriculum could offer students an idea/clue as to whether they’re emotionally/mentally compatible with the immense responsibility and strains of parenthood.

  • I had tried accessing one-on-one therapy in our “universal” health care system; however, within there are very many important health treatments that are universally inaccessible, except for those with a lot of extra doe to blow.

    The only two health professions’ appointments for which I’m fully covered by the Canadian public plan are the readily pharmaceutical-prescribing psychiatry and general practitioner health professions? Such non-Big-Pharma-benefiting health specialists as counsellors, therapists and naturopaths (etcetera) are not covered for a red cent. I wonder whether that is just a coincidence?

    Western business mentality and, by extension, collective society allow the well-being of human beings to be decided by corporate profit-margin measures. And our governments mostly dare not intervene, perhaps because they fear being labelled anti-business by our avidly capitalist culture.

    Sadly, maximizing profits by risking the health or lives of product consumers will likely always be a significant part of the big business beast’s nature. But that does not mean that we should give in to it. Rather, it should be a call to society, and especially our elected leaders, that the economy and jobs be there foremostly for people, not for corporate profit’s sake.

  • Considering that so much of our lifelong health comes from our childhood experiences, childhood mental health-care should generate as much societal concern and government funding as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable.

    It’s known that trauma from unhindered toxic abuse typically results in a helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. I consider it a form of brain damage.

    The lasting emotional/psychological pain from such trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of prescribed or illicit self-medicating.

    The wellbeing of ALL children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care — needs to be of real importance to us all, regardless of whether we’re doing a great job with our own developing children. A mentally sound future should be every child’s fundamental right — along with air, water, food and shelter — especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.
    ______

    “It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (Childhood Disrupted, pg.228).

  • “Well-meaning and loving parents can unintentionally do harm to a child if they are not well informed about human development … ” (Childhood Disrupted, pg.24).

    Regarding early-life trauma, people tend to know (perhaps commonsensically) that they should not loudly quarrel when, for instance, a baby is in the next room; however, do they know about the intricacies of why not? Since it cannot fight or flight, a baby stuck in a crib on its back hearing parental discord in the next room can only “move into a third neurological state, known as a ‘freeze’ state … This freeze state is a trauma state” (pg.123). This causes its brain to improperly develop.

    Also, how many non-academics are aware that it’s the unpredictability of a stressor, and not the intensity, that does the most harm? When the stressor “is completely predictable, even if it is more traumatic — such as giving a [laboratory] rat a regularly scheduled foot shock accompanied by a sharp, loud sound — the stress does not create these exact same [negative] brain changes” (pg.42). Furthermore, how many of us were aware that, since young children completely rely on their parents for protection and sustenance, they will understandably stress over having their parents angry at them for prolonged periods of time? (It makes me question the wisdom of punishing children by sending them to their room without dinner.)

    I did not know any of the above until I heavily researched the topic for specifics.

    I strongly believe that the wellbeing of all children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — should be of great importance to us all, regardless of whether we’re doing a great job with our own developing children. Sadly, due to the common OIIIMOBY mindset (Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard), the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — I’m soundly raising my kid?’ or ‘What’s in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support child development programs for the sake of others’ bad parenting?’

    While some may justify it as a normal thus moral human evolutionary function, the self-serving OIIIMOBY can debilitate social progress, even when social progress is most needed; and it seems that distinct form of societal penny wisdom but pound foolishness is a very unfortunate human characteristic that’s likely with us to stay.

  • The lingering emotional/psychological pain from traumatic events is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, such as paralysis, a missing limb or eye, all of which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit. Any resultant addiction is likely his/her attempt at silencing the anguish of PTSD symptoms through substance abuse.

    My own experience has revealed that notable high-scoring adverse childhood experience trauma resulting from a highly sensitive and low self-confidence introverted existence, amplified by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder, can readily lead an adolescent to a substance-abuse/self-medicating disorder. It’s what I consider to be a perfect-storm condition with which I greatly struggled yet of which I was not aware until I was a half-century old.

    To this day, it still goes untreated, except for medication, which only really benefits Big Pharma’s bloated profit margin. And I get angered when I receive a strong suggestion (from anywhere, via the media or another person, however well-intentioned) to ‘get therapy’, as though anyone can access it, regardless of the $150-$200+ per hour they charge. For me, even worse is the fact that payment is for a product/transaction for which there’s only one party that is always a winner — the therapist’s bank account.

  • Although adults suffering trauma require attention as well, my thoughts are mostly with the traumatized children needing resilience.

    While a high score on the adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) questionnaire is bad, there can be a counteracting effect if one also scores high on the Resilience questionnaire. The two questionnaires can be accessed at: http://www.irenegreene.com/wp-content/uploads/ACEScoreResilienceQ2.pdf
    Resilience is a formal measure of one’s emotional/psychological strengths. For example, one may have had an uncle or grandmother who was a stable, strong and loving presence always available when one’s parent(s) was/were dysfunctional or abusive.

    My own experience has revealed that notable adverse childhood experience trauma resulting from a highly sensitive and low self-confidence introverted existence, amplified by an accompanying autism spectrum disorder, can readily lead an adolescent to a substance-abuse/self-medicating disorder. It’s what I consider to be a perfect-storm condition with which I greatly struggled yet of which I was not aware until I was a half-century old. Nonetheless, I believe that if one has diagnosed and treated such a formidable condition when one is very young he/she will be much better able to deal with it through life.

    I understand that my brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammatory stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It is quite like a discomforting anticipation of ‘the other shoe dropping’ and simultaneously being scared of how badly I will deal with the upsetting event, which usually never transpires. Though I’ve not been personally affected by the addiction/overdose crisis (in B.C.), I have suffered enough unrelenting ACE-related hyper-anxiety to have known and enjoyed the euphoric release upon consuming alcohol and/or THC. The self-medicating method I utilized during most of my pre-teen years, however, was eating.

    Since so much of our lifelong health comes from our childhood experiences, childhood mental health-care should generate as much societal concern and government funding as does physical health, even though psychological illness/dysfunction typically is not immediately visually observable.

    The lingering emotional/psychological pain from such intense trauma is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head. It is solitarily suffered, unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, such as paralysis, a missing limb or eye, all of which tends to elicit sympathy/empathy from others. It can make every day a mental ordeal, unless the turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit. Any resultant addiction is likely his/her attempt at silencing the anguish of PTSD symptoms through substance abuse.

  • “So many therapists and shrinks become fixated on THE person.” …
    _______

    I get angered when I receive a strong suggestion (from anywhere, via the media or another person, however well-intentioned) to ‘get therapy’, as though anyone can access it, regardless of the $150-$200+ per hour they charge. For me, even worse is the fact that payment is for a product/transaction for which there’s only one party that is always a winner — the therapist’s bank account.

  • While progress is being made on this front, for me there’s still too much platitudinous lip-service towards proactive mental illness prevention for men (and even boys), as well as treatment.

    Various media will state the obvious, that society must open up its collective minds and common dialogue when it comes to far more progressively addressing the challenge of more fruitfully treating and preventing such illness in general; however, they will typically fail to address the problem of ill men refusing to open up and/or ask for help due to their fear of being perceived by peers, etcetera, as weak/non-masculine. The social ramifications exist all around us; indeed, it is endured, however silently, by males of/with whom we are aware/familiar or to whom so many of us are closely related. (Great actor/comedian Robin Williams’ suicide comes to my mind.)

    Even in this day and age, there remains a mentality out there, albeit perhaps subconsciously: Men can take care of themselves, and boys are basically little men. It’s the same mentality that might explain why the book Childhood Disrupted was only able to include one man among its six interviewed adult subjects, there being such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to formally tell his own story of childhood abuse. Could it be evidence of a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset? One in which so many men, even with anonymity, would prefer not to ‘complain’ to some stranger/author about his torturous childhood, as that is what ‘real men’ do? (I’ve tried more than once contacting the book’s author via internet websites in regards to this unaddressed elephant-in-the-room matter but received no reply.)

    The author of The Highly Sensitive Man (2019, Tom Falkenstein) writes in Chapter 1: ” … academics are telling us that ‘we know far less about the psychological and physical health of men than of women.’ Why is this? Michael Addis, a professor of psychology and a leading researcher into male identity and psychological health, has highlighted a deficit in our knowledge about men suffering from depression and argues that this has cultural, social, and historical roots.
    If we look at whether gender affects how people experience depression, how they express it, and how it’s treated, it quickly becomes clear that gender has for a long time referred to women and not to men. According to Addis, this is because, socially and historically, men have been seen as the dominant group and thus representative of normal psychological health. Women have thus been understood as the nondominant group, which deviated from the norm, and they have been examined and understood from this perspective. One of the countless problems of this approach is that the experiences and specific challenges of the ‘dominant group,’ in this case men, have remained hidden. …
    While it is true that a higher percentage of women than men will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or a depressive episode, the suicide rate among men is much higher. In the United States, the suicide rate is notably higher in men than in women. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men account for 77 percent of the forty-five thousand people who kill themselves every year in the United States. In fact, men commit suicide more than women everywhere in the world. Men are more likely to suffer from addiction, and when men discuss depressive symptoms with their doctor, they are less likely than women to be diagnosed with depression and consequently don’t receive adequate therapeutic and pharmacological treatment.”

  • Sadly, due to the common OIIIMOBY mindset (Only If It’s In My Own Back Yard), the prevailing collective attitude, however implicit or subconscious, basically follows: ‘Why should I care — I’m soundly raising my kid?’ or ‘What’s in it for me, the taxpayer, if I support child development programs for the sake of others’ bad parenting?’

    Nonetheless, as likely countless other people also feel, I believe the wellbeing of all children — and not just what other parents’ children might/will cost us as future criminals or costly cases of government care, etcetera — should be of importance to us all, regardless of whether we’re doing a great job with our own developing children. A mentally sound and physically healthy future should be every child’s fundamental right (up there with food, water and shelter), especially considering the very troubled world into which they never asked to enter.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, I’d like to see child-development science curriculum implemented for secondary high school students, though not overly complicated. If society is to avoid the most dreaded, invasive and reactive means of intervention — that of governmental forced removal of children from dysfunctional/abusive home environments — maybe we then should be willing to try an unconventional proactive means of preventing some future dysfunctional/abusive family situations. Education, perhaps through child development science high-school curriculum, might be one way.

    Trauma from unchecked toxic abuse usually results in a helpless child’s brain improperly developing. If allowed to continue for a prolonged period, it can act as a starting point into a life in which the brain uncontrollably releases potentially damaging levels of inflammation-promoting stress hormones and chemicals, even in non-stressful daily routines. It has been described as a discomforting anticipation of ‘the other shoe dropping’ and simultaneously being scared of how badly you will deal with the upsetting event, which usually never transpires.

    The pain — unlike an openly visible physical disability or condition, such as paralysis, a missing limb or eye — is very formidable yet invisibly confined to inside one’s head, solitarily suffered. It can make every day an emotional/psychological ordeal, unless the mental turmoil is treated with some form of medicating, either prescribed or illicit. Any resultant addiction is likely due to his/her attempt at silencing the anguish of PTSD symptoms through substance abuse.