The road to adulthood is never a smooth ride. But some obstacles strike early in life and affects the future of adulthood. That innocence of a child could be completely erased with trauma, under the influence of an adverse childhood experience.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can be stressful or traumatic events that include neglect
and abuse. These traumas derive from many different events that directly impact a child and their mental health. MVHS student advocate Richard Prinz states that, “[Adverse childhood experiences] can occur in prolonged trauma involving ... harm or loss or abandonment by caregiver, divorce, death and relocation”.
These experiences follow individuals throughout their entire lives. But one of the most predominant encounters that children face is bullying. Psychologist Dr. Sophia Ott expresses that bullying has increased due to social media. Other traumas could come from poverty and racism.
“[These are] things that you can’t escape or really can’t affect any change because of your circumstances, financially or by the color of your skin,” Ott said.
Other forms of emotional abuse derive from unstable family situations. Children witness their parents be torn apart in a divorce or stiffly placed into another family due to remarriage, according to a presentation written by MVHS admin given to high school teachers as a learning tool for guiding students, when these traumatic childhood experiences translate into the teen years, individuals mask their pain by repeating or mirroring the behavior they have experienced, The powerpoint informs teachers of ACE’s symptoms and ways to help identify and seek further support for the student in forms of counseling.
This trauma can be indescribable as well, something that is hidden, and blends into the schedule of a person. Where it constantly hovers over the individual’s daily life.
“It’s kind of an ongoing trauma, not the normal things we think of like war or violence, but just kind of day to day,” Prinz says. “[It] can wear you out,”
There are ways to get help and minimize the struggle and pain many children have to face during their young lives in order to feel less isolated, less alone. There is always someone willing to help in times of peril. Trust is a huge factor in this type of situation, as a person coming out and discussing their trauma requires the trust in the good judgement of their peers.
“The best thing to do is like peer-counseling, listen without judgement, listen and show with your behavior and with your eyes, with your words,” Ott says. “Show that you are listening and that you care and you are invested in their safety. If they are coming to you, with something that important that they are going to want to know that they can trust you with the information”.
This package explores all realms of adverse childhood experiences, the varying struggles of teens going into adulthood. The silent force that derives from one or more traumatic experiences constantly looms behind a soon-to-be young adult, resulting in the reason for sudden mood changes, depression and estrangement.
So allow yourself to attend with a listening ear, respond with compassion, all without judgement.