The most vulnerable point in any person’s life is their childhood. As a child, one is physically weaker and smaller than the adults around them as well as more vulnerable to outside influences – good and bad alike. For this reason, strong caring adults must help guide children towards their full potential, the help them become the people they were meant to be.

Teacher and writer, Robert Ward, in his blog article “The Four Fundamental Needs of Children,” fervently supports this premise, writes that “children are fragile and vulnerable, which is why they need strong leadership from adults. In fact, they want to be molded and if left up to chance could take a turn for the worst.” Through the application of the 4Ls – Leadership, Love, Laughter and Learning – children can receive a consistent balance from adults that will allow them to thrive well into their adulthood. When children face a major adversity that could disrupt their normal development, the role of strong, caring adults is more critical than ever.


It is crucial as a parent, guardian, or teacher to understand the fundamental needs of children in order to properly guide and mold them into the adults and leaders of tomorrow. The first step is to recognize that “all children require assistance in social, emotional, soulful, and academic development,” according to Ward. He claims that for a child to have a chance at becoming an accomplished, fulfilled, happy person, “they must progressively acquire self-control, self-confidence, self-expression, and self-efficacy and that these traits can actually be seen in any successful and satisfied persons.”


When facing a major childhood adversity like Childhood Domestic Violence – which 15+ million children face in the U.S alone – a child isn’t regularly receiving the 4 crucial Ls: Leadership, Love, Laughter and Learning, which are essential for their positive development. So the child is growing up with an immensely reduced likelihood of reaching their full potential. That’s 1 in 7 children.

Research has discovered that growing up in a home with violence between parents or violence towards a parent from a stepparent or significant other (Childhood Domestic Violence or CDV) grows up believing a series of negative beliefs or LIES. The brain of a child is not fully developed and is easily negatively wired, as it takes in information indiscriminately, unable to filter out anything that isn’t accurate or helpful. The most common LIES often encoded in these homes are guilty, resentful, sad, alone, angry, hopeless, worthless, fearful, self-conscious, and unloved. If left unchecked, they persist well into adulthood, become ingrained, and can truly sabotage these individuals’ lives, as human beings behave remarkably consistent with what they believe. The LIES can cause serious repercussions in the 4 key areas of life: physical health, mental wellbeing, behavior, and relationships, ultimately preventing a person from becoming a successful, satisfied adult, according to Ward.


Hence, it is imperative that these LIES be challenged early on, which can lead children down a different, positive path. One of the most effective ways to facilitate this is when a strong, caring adult (THE ONE) steps in at a crucial time in a child’s life and shares some simple messages that offer a new perspective which challenges the false beliefs and can trigger the negatively wired brain to begin to unlearn the LIES and shift in a positive direction.


As Robert Ward states in his article, the guidance of children must not be left up to chance. Behind closed doors, many children are not receiving the four Ls that guide them to become a thriving adult. So, if you are a caring adult willing to step in and make a difference, you can easily become THE ONE for any child (or adult) impacted by a major childhood adversity like CDV. Our Change A Life (CAL) program can teach you how, step by step, in only 40 minutes. It is a free, evidence-based online program built by the leading researcher on this issue in the world, endorsed by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, and taken by professionals from over 600 institutions nationwide! But you don’t need to be a professional or have any prior child development background whatsoever to benefit from this program. In fact, CAL was built for laymen and can teach any caring adult how, through simple support and messages of hope, to help change the life of a child impacted by CDV. LEARN MORE!


If you are a professional who works regularly in a high-touch way with children impacted by CDV (or another major childhood adversity) and need a much more extensive training to prepare you to effectively serve them over the course of days or weeks, you can take our Resiliency Focused Mentoring Training (RFMT), build recently with a special focus on professionals. This day-long course – recently accredited for 7 hours of continued education by the National Association of Social Workers – is an unprecedented workshop that will be available soon in-person in select locations throughout the country or online via CDVA’s distance learning portal. For more information about taking the RFMT, email

To read more about the 4 fundamental needs (4Ls), click here for the full article, “The Four Fundamental Needs of All Children” by Robert Ward,