Marathon Co. community helps parents cope with childhood adversi - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Marathon Co. community helps parents cope with childhood adversity

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -

More than half of Wisconsin kids will experience something traumatic during their childhood. 

On Tuesday a documentary showed at North Central Technical College by the Marathon County Health Department aimed at parents to know how they can help their kids.

The documentary called 'Resilience' showed how childhood trauma can lead to bigger problems.

Adverse experiences can impact their health and mental development.

"It was very sad and I felt alone," said Kyla Luther who was among one of the viewers. However, Luther isn't alone.

Marathon Co. health experts said 58 percent of Wisconsinites have at least one adverse childhood experience. This is considered any traumatic event that happens to a person before the age of 18.

"Everyone in my family had an addiction of some sort so as far as positive role models in the beginning I didn't have that many," Luther said.

Luther knew she needed to do something to help herself overcome her adverse experience.

"You know I don't want my life to be that way and so I thought I'm not going to do somethings that's going to keep me from something that I would like to do in the future," she said.

As a result she now helps students at the NTC in Wausau overcome similar issues.

"I understand what it's like to feel alone but I also understand what it feels to rise up," Luther said.

Even though the mind of a young child can forget the trauma as they get older their body still remembers what it went through, according to the documentary.

Studies show that children exposed to trauma are more likely to have issues with their health and mental development.

The documentary said children exposed to trauma are twice as likely to experience heart disease. 

"I had a father who was an alcoholic and exposed to that but when I grew up I never wanted to repeat what he did," said state representative Pat Snyder."I didn't start really drinking until I got into college and then the disease took over and I started drinking and couldn't stop."

He said there is a simple solution to how parents, teachers, and caregivers can help children cope.

"I think more people need to realize and not to say what's wrong with you instead say what happened to you," Snyder said.

An open forum was held after the documentary where parents gained tools to help their children and provide a better environment for them to prevent adverse experiences.

Adverse experiences fall under three main categories which are abuse, neglect and household dysfunction.

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