There has been a lot of research over the last several years on the phenomenon called Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). According to the CDC: “Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood. ACEs can include violence, abuse, and growing up in a family with mental health or substance abuse problems.” In addition, homelessness, community violence, death of a loved one, or deportation are ACEs, and today the list includes isolation due to the pandemic. ACEs shape a child's development and can have dramatic effects on health and welfare for the rest of the child's life. For some children, positive experiences and relationships can be an antidote for ACEs, helping build resilience that enables them to overcome or avoid the consequences of ACEs.
Simply put, having strong, nurturing, positive relationships and experiences with adults can help a child grow up to be a healthy, happy adult. Sounds pretty basic, but sometimes parenting can be complicated and turns into just managing life's complexities and frustrations rather than finding ways to make life fun and rewarding. But finding ways to have positive experiences, even things that may seem minor at the time, can have a big impact on both the joy of parenting and on the development and health of the child. The American Academy of Pediatrics' website for parents, healthychildren.org, has a new series of articles on how to create such positive experiences for different age groups. Check out the links below for more information. And while you're there, browse around and see what other great information is available on the site.