The first priority of any parent is to protect their child from harm. Yet despite this, many parents do not have a well-rounded or accurate view of precisely what harms children or what creates adverse outcomes. We have feelings based upon what other tell us about thing, but few people understand the driving forces behind psychological harm. Most everything you will hear from mainstream media outlets is either incomplete or at least partially wrong, and while certain forms of adversity are dramatized and exaggerated (molestation), other forms of adversity that are equally as damaging or even more harmful are entirely ignored (divorce, family dysfunction, etc.). Furthermore, our labels don't accurately tell us what is or isn't harmful from one instance to another. Divorce, for example, can vary widely from case to case, and the degree of harm done depends not on the label we give it but the degree of injurious things present in the situation.
Harm to children doesn’t just magically happen, nor does it flow out of wild psychoanalytic theories. It occurs because a certain experience or situation contains documentable harmful elements, all of which operate along well-established principles of psychology. Having at least a rudimentary understanding of these mechanisms of injury is a fundamental part of both understanding and minimizing the harm a child may endure when it comes to adverse life events.