Which Hurts More? A Clean Punch Or One That Is Blocked?

Why do some kids overcome toxic situations while others don’t?

Research has shown that one answer is “a single protective adult.” A child with a buffer is far more likely to succeed than one who is left to navigate these difficulties alone — no matter how hard that child may work at it.

Having a buffer does not save or spare us from all of the indignities and pain of growing up poor, or facing extreme or toxic stress, but it can lessen their impact, sometimes considerably.

Buffering can come in many forms. It can be a simple explanation or reassurance to a child that something is not his or her fault. Or it can come in the heat of the moment by stepping in and deflecting or defusing a bad situation.

It’s the difference between experiencing something awful and thinking it’s always going to be this way, and experiencing something awful and realizing it can get better. Buffering creates a different narrative to frame our lives. It creates hope.

Have there been times in your life when someone stepped in between you and something awful? You probably didn’t realize it at the time but these buffers did you an invaluable service.

Now step back and imagine what it would have been like if, instead you had to absorb the full severity of any of those blows, with no one there to step in before or after to help you up. This is a life without buffers.

If you get the chance today, call your mom, dad or that one person who stepped in for you and thank them — recognizing that not everyone has that same benefit.Read more about the importance of a single protective adult in PARENT(S)

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