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In my continuing effort to pick out why some people seem to recover from terrible childhood experiences and appear to lead successful lives, I read Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal,by Donna Nakazawa. It is based on the ACE Test (Adverse Childhood Experiences test) and a Resilience Score test that is similar to my PCE Test (Positive Childhood Experiences). This book mostly follows case studies of people with ACE scores in the 2-5 range; that is, they had several repeated negative experiences perpetrated on them from guardians during their childhood, but not a continuous year after year mistreatment. A typical problem was an alcoholic parent who occasionally mistreated them.

I was searching for ideas on what helps a person become competent at coping with challenges, and whether these abilities come from having a totally secure childhood or a stressful one, what is the balance, and what are critical factors. Last week I reviewed a most extreme example, The Young Hitler I Knew, by August Kubizek, where it seemed a not particularly disturbed boy, Hitler, had unusual support from a friend that permitted him to cultivate the extraordinary speaking ability that later brought him to prominence, but he didn’t seem to be evil in his youth. This new book deals with kids who were abused to some degree and in the end gives fourteen suggestions for helping kids transcend their difficulties, such as: #3 Instill the Four S’s in Your Children – Help your kids feel seen and understood, Help them feel safe, Help them recover from fears, Help them develop an internalized sense of well-being.

Childhood Disrupted by Donna Nakazawa is a important book for parents and guardians.