069: Reducing the impact of intergenerational trauma

Ever get red-hot angry at your child for no reason, or out of proportion to the incident that provoked it?  Have you wondered why this happens?

The way we were parented has a profound impact on us – it’s pretty easy to ‘fall into’ parenting the way you were parented yourself unless you specifically examine your relationship with your parent(s) and how it impacts the way you parent your own child.  This can be great if you have a positive relationship with your parents, but for those of us with less-than-amazing relationships with our parents, trauma can impact more of our parenting that we might like.

Join me for a conversation with Dr. Rebecca Babcock-Fenerci from Stonehill College in Massachusetts, who researches the cognitive and interpersonal consequences of child maltreatment, with the goal of understanding factors that can increase risk for or protect against the transmission of abuse and neglect from parents to their children.

Even if you were not abused or neglected as a child, you may find that aspects of the way you were parented have left you with unresolved trauma that you could pass on to your child if it remains unaddressed.  Dr. Fenerci helps us to examine some of the ways we can recognize the impact of this trauma on ourselves, and reduce the possibility that we will transmit it to our child.

References

Auerhahn, N.C., & Laub, D. (1998). Intergenerational memory of the Holocaust. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.21-41). New York, NY: Plenum.

Babcock, R.L., & DePrince, A.P. (2013). Factors contributing to ongoing intimate partner abuse: Childhood betrayal trauma and dependence on one’s perpetrator. Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28(7), 1385-1402.

Berthelot, N., Ensink, K., Bernazzani, O., Normandin, L., Fonagy, P., & Luyten, P. (2015). Intergenerational transmission of attachment in abused and neglected mothers: The role of trauma-specific reflective functioning. Infant Mental Health Journal 36(2), 200-212.

Cross, D., Vance, L.A., Kim, Y.J., Ruchard, A.L., Fox, N., Jovanovic, T., & Bradley, B. (2017). Trauma exposure, PTSD, and parenting in a community sample of low-income, predominantly African American mothers and children. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Psychological Trauma 10(3), 327-335.

Dias, B.G., & Ressler, K.J. (2014). Parental olfactory experience influences behavior and neural structure in subsequent generations. Nature Neuroscience 17, 89-96.

Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2018). Intergenerational transmission of trauma: Maternal trauma-related cognitions and toddler symptoms. Child Maltreatment 23(2), 126-136.

Fenerci, R.L.B., & DePrince, A.P. (2017). Shame and alienation related to child maltreatment: Links to symptoms across generations. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Epub ahead of print. doi: 10.1037/tra0000332

Fenerci, R.L.B. & DePrince, A.P. (2016). Intergenerational transmission of trauma-related distress: Maternal betrayal trauma, parenting attitudes, and behaviors. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 25(4), 382-399.

Kellerman, N.P.F. (2013). Epigentic transmission of Holocaust trauma: Can nightmares be inherited? Israel Journal of Psychiatry and Related Sciences 50(1), 33-39.

Nagata, D.K. (1998). Intergenerational effects of the Japanese American internment. In Y. Danieli (Ed.), International handbook of multigenerational legacies of trauma (pp.125-139). New York, NY: Plenum.

Oliver, J.E. (1993). Intergenerational transmission of child abuse: Rates, research, and clinical implications. American Journal of Psychiatry 150, 1315-1324.

Riva, M.A. (2017). Epigenetic signatures of early life adversities in animal models: A role for psychopathology vulnerability. European Psychiatry 415, S29.

Yehuda, R., Daskalakis, N.P., Bierer, L.M., Bader, H.N., Klengel, T., Holsboer, F., & Binder, E.B. (2016). Holocaust exposure induced intergenerational effects on FKBP5 methylation. Biological Psychiatry 80, 372-380.

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