There have been over 10 years of research into something called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES).
ACES are specific things that occur in childhood. As a result, they affect adult health and well-being.
Definition of ACEs: growing up (prior to age 18) in a household with:
- Recurrent physical abuse.
- Repeated emotional abuse.
- Sexual abuse.
- An alcohol or drug abuser.
- Incarcerated household member.
- Someone who is chronically depressed, suicidal, institutionalized or mentally ill.
- Mother being treated violently.
- One or no parents.
- Emotional or physical neglect.
ACEs are surprisingly common.
They happen in “the best of families”. Adverse Childhood Experiences have long-term, damaging consequences. ACES lead to risky behaviors. Risky behaviors, in turn, lead to disease, disability, and social problems. Consequently, all this can increase the risk of early death. Above all, the more ACES a person has the more they are at risk for adult problems. According to the ACE Study, a person does not just “get over” or “grow out of” negative childhood experiences.
Most importantly, we know we can prevent ACEs with our children. The best thing would be to create a life for our children which doesn’t involve any ACES. However, we have little or no control over some of the ACEs. Therefore, we have to ask: can we make the effects of an ACE less?
Create Positive Childhood Experiences.
Fill your child’s life with positive experiences. Help them become resilient. That is to say, create a “buffer” in case they are exposed to one or more ACEs.
A resilient child has:
- Strong connection with family
- Powerful connection with positive peers
- Loving, trusting connection with non-parental adult
- Opportunities to develop self esteem
- Feeling like a valued member of the community
Create a strong connection with your child. Develop positive experiences and help protect your child into adulthood.
For more information about the ACE study >>
© Parent Trust for Washington Children