The ACE Study was one of the first and largest research efforts conducted to examine the impact of childhood trauma on health decades later.
From tomore than 17, adult members of Kaiser Permanente in San Diego took part in the study. Eat, sleep, and play was our daily routine. The children were my best friends, and partners in crime.
Things they said and did, their way of being and relating to you and others, laid the foundation for many of your beliefs, values, attitudes, and parenting practices.
If a child is neglected; if they're not praised enough -- perhaps from a parent's misguided notion that this will give them a "swelled head" -- or if they're not encouraged to do things, the child will grow up with a lack of confidence and self-worth.
One day, while reviewing the completed questionnaires, I came across several notes penned by the study participants, thanking us for asking these questions. For example, a dad decides to take his toddler out to splash in the puddles because this activity is something special he remembers doing with his dad.
Each one of these adults has an important role to play in the child's development and emotional well-being. Participants also answered questions about adverse childhood experiences, including physical, emotional and sexual abuse; physical and emotional neglect; and growing up in a home with divorced parents, domestic violence, substance abuse, or mentally ill or incarcerated household members.
This freedom molded me into a very trusting person today. These types of tasks can include being made to care for younger siblings or managing the household at a very young age; being put in the role of parental confidante; being thrust into the position of mediator between fighting parents; being responsible for the family's finances, or being pressured to perform at school, in their hobbies for example, performing arts, spelling bees or math competitions or in individual or team sports at a level that is beyond them, or not what they themselves want to do.
All in all, I believe my circumstances as a child have helped form my identity today. For example: the loss of a loved one, parental separation or divorce, significant tension between parents, financial insecurity, parental mental health issues, or parental substance abuse.