As a parent, you may already be familiar with “adverse childhood experiences,” or ACEs. These are experiences that can occur in childhood that cause so much toxic stress that they can follow a child into adulthood. They can affect a person’s emotional and physical health, their relationships and even their ability to function in society.
Most of the ten identified ACEs involve abuse of all kinds against a parent or the child themselves, physical or emotional neglect of the child or a parent’s substance abuse, mental health problems or incarceration. As you may know, divorce is considered an ACE.
That can be highly concerning to divorcing parents who don’t want their divorce to negatively affect their children even in the present – let alone into adulthood. Typically, divorce is only an ACE if it’s accompanied by one or more other ACEs, which it is in many cases. Of course, if parents are battling it out in a long, contentious divorce and neglecting to consider how their child is experiencing it, that child certainly can have a significant amount of stress and anxiety.
One way to help ensure that this doesn’t happen to your child is to make sure they continue to have plenty of positive childhood experiences (PCEs).
What are PCEs?
Child development professionals have identified a number of positive childhood experiences (PCEs) that are important for all children, but certainly to those who have ACEs and other stressors in their lives. These include:
- Daily playtime
- Recognition and praise
- Quality bonding time
- Nurturing, predictable environments
Parents aren’t the only ones who can provide these. In fact, if your child has experienced some serious ACEs, like witnessing domestic violence, it may be necessary to rely on a support system – including possibly a therapist – to provide them with PCEs.
If you’re simply looking for a way to prevent your divorce from becoming an ACE for your child, having sound legal guidance can you navigate the process and work toward custody and support agreements and a parenting plan that keeps your child’s well-being at the forefront.