Gransnet forums


ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences)

(116 Posts)
Rebellious Sun 29-Sep-19 20:44:07

This may be of interest to everyone here.

It tests how many Adverse Childhood Experiences you had. If your ACEs score is high there is a likelihood you will pass parts of your experience down to your own children without help and support.

In the UK it is thought that approximately 8-10% of mothers will experience estrangement from one or more children. As you can see on the website, given the number of children who face 4 or more ACEs the estrangement percentage is really quite low.

I hope this may be of use.

aggie Sun 29-Sep-19 20:49:31


HettyMaud Sun 29-Sep-19 20:51:47

Very interesting. Having been brought up in the 1950s/60s I think parenting was typically very different back then. I remember no hugs or expressions of affection from my parents. My father regularly smacked me. I was forced to eat meat. Only when I got to my early teens did this stop. I must say, I remember it vividly and that's why I was so fond of my kind grandparents. When I had my children I smacked them as I thought it was normal. If I had them now I wouldn't dream of it. I am quite needy and emotional - who knows if this is my nature or my upbringing.

Rebellious Sun 29-Sep-19 20:57:25

"Fortunately, brains and lives are somewhat plastic. The appropriate integration of resilience factors born out of ACE concepts — such as asking for help, developing trusting relationships, forming a positive attitude, listening to feelings — can help people improve their lives."

This is what is needed to turn it around and break the cycle as well as repair the brain. A cycle cannot be broken while abuse is continues so Estrangement is sometimes necessary.

Rebellious Sun 29-Sep-19 21:03:13

Psychobabble is the misuse of psychology terms that create confusion, which this is not aggie.

I hope you can open your mind a little some day, it can only be of benefit to you and others around you.

Starblaze Sun 29-Sep-19 21:11:59

This is amazing, I've done so much reading and worked a lot on resilience with a counsellor and it changed me as a parent. We are so fortunate to have so much more access to help these days!

GagaJo Sun 29-Sep-19 21:28:02

I was quite traumatised by my childhood until I was, I don't know, 25-30. But fortunately, the effects wore off eventually. I assumed I'd be affected permanently, but nope. I may have residual traces, but I genuinely think I've left it behind now.

Grannyknot Sun 29-Sep-19 21:35:30

It's not psychobabble. The need to practice "trauma-informed care" in treating complex cases (by doctors and other professionals) is becoming more and more accepted.

Sara65 Sun 29-Sep-19 21:40:13

My brother always says, when in any doubt about how to deal with one of his children, he always thinks about what our parents would have done, and does the opposite.

He’s a very good father, and his children are an absolute credit to him and my sister in law.

We had a rather cold upbringing, but I don’t think either of us has carried it through to the next generation.

Rebellious Sun 29-Sep-19 21:45:26

Some people are stronger than they know. They find and nurture their own support systems and the resulting love and security undoes the trauma.

Hetty58 Sun 29-Sep-19 21:58:20

I too, after a difficult childhood, would automatically do things very differently from my parents (perhaps making different mistakes). Still, I believe there are hundreds of 'right' ways to bring up children.

I have a friend who was badly neglected as a child and is permanently damaged by it. She's been an excellent mother, though. Her brother had the exact same upbringing, but (perhaps due to his personality) was never troubled by it. We are so individual that there are many different paths we can take.

Sara65 Sun 29-Sep-19 22:05:15


I think my brother was less confrontational than me, so just kept under the radar!

M0nica Sun 29-Sep-19 22:08:40

I think that link, while not psychbabble, plays to current concerns. You can be in a position where you suffer none of the above but still have a difficult childhood.

Among the items not mentioned on the list are the effects on a child of long term health problems or having a sibling with a disabilty or long term illness, separation from your family for a significant period, by beeing in hospital or having a paret who is absent from home; in the navy or merchant navy, or someone with a job that takes them away from home.

However some children seem to come through all kinds of difficult childhoods without letting it ruin their future lives.

On the otherhand some children will see problems where none existed.

The human psyche is resilient and adaptable.

rosecarmel Sun 29-Sep-19 22:14:23

It's a difficult process for sure but doable- (Resilience is a beautiful thing) Similar to how lifestyle and diet changes can improve depression-

Ginny42 Sun 29-Sep-19 22:33:58

I looked at the website, but none of the descriptors matched any reason why I had a challenging childhood. Our mother was very sick after the birth of my younger sister and that left me with a very strong sense that I did not want to be ill whilst my DD was young. I did not want her to go through what we three sisters experienced.

Mother died on my 21st birthday and scars from that kind of experience run deep. No one's fault; no bad parenting; no neglect, as we were often cared for by aunties, in fact I lived with one auntie for a long time whilst my sister was a baby, but it wasn't 'normal'.

Mother laughed a lot in spite of everything and whenever I think of her, I see her laughing. Mum and Dad both laughed a lot and perhaps that mitigates against the worst of the pain that I remember their laughter.

notanan2 Sun 29-Sep-19 22:45:50

I really dont think "doing the opposite" = breaking the cycle. Breaking the cycle means being neutral and unaffected by past traumas, whereas "doing the opposite" is actually focusing on the traumas and becoming dogmatic as a result. "The opposite" of a bad parenting practice isnt nevessarily a good parenting practice, because you can end up going too far to the other end of spectrum which can be just as bad

notanan2 Sun 29-Sep-19 22:49:18

Her brother had the exact same upbringing
I do not think that siblings, even twins, have the "exact same upbringing"

One sibling being more affected than the other does not mean that the other was necessarily more resiliant.

There are many ways in which two people can have the same parents and live in the same house but have very different experiences, and Im not just talking about blatent favouritism

rosecarmel Mon 30-Sep-19 00:43:24

We were each treated uniquely, yet subjected to the same unhealthy, overall, household dynamic for different lengths of time- We made efforts to raise our children differently but unsuccessfully in some ways because some behaviors remained- Realizing this has led to productive, ongoing discussions when circumstances arise- It truly takes generations of effort working together -

Starblaze Mon 30-Sep-19 08:01:03

My brother grew up in the same home and refuses to acknowledge any abuse, although he had it much easier than me, he must have seen it. He smokes, drinks too much, cheats on his girlfriends and is very manipulative and controlling. Maybe recognising abuse is a huge deciding factor.

Daisymae Mon 30-Sep-19 08:10:45

I was equally traumatized by my childhood. I remember reading in my twenties something along the lines of 'you can let it ruin your life, or accept that was how things were up to this point and then move on. You can take responsibility for your own life'. Thats what I choose to do. I do understand that not everyone can, but it worked for me. Most of the time!

Ohmother Mon 30-Sep-19 08:47:05

In my mind (and after much thought) you can carry the past as baggage and let it weigh you down (substance addicts perhaps?) or you can use the experience of pain/neglect to help others (nurse/counsellor). With the latter it seems you are using the resilience that you built up.

Ohmother Mon 30-Sep-19 08:55:04

P.s. there’s an interesting animation about this on YouTube if you type in ACES.

Loislovesstewie Mon 30-Sep-19 08:55:48

I don't think this covers everything that would make a childhood difficult; for example ill health of parent ( not caused by alcohol or drug abuse,) the family being made homeless , early death of a parent, bullying from non- family members, the list is endless. It's a good place to start but not definitive.

Sara65 Mon 30-Sep-19 08:57:26

We weren’t subjected to any abuse, beyond the odd smack. I didn’t realise how unusual our upbringing was, till I saw how other families were.
Notanan, I’m sure my brother puts a bit more thought into parenting than just doing the opposite of his parents, but if nothing else, it’s made him a kind affectionate father.

BlueBelle Mon 30-Sep-19 09:23:39

I think that test of childhood traumas it’s very lacking, surely one of the biggest factors would be a parent dying or being terminally ill although they had some counselling and a very very understanding useful mother my grandkids have definitely been damaged by there dad dying

I myself had a very good childhood I don’t tick any of the boxes so a 0 score but as an only child I was lonely and had little concept of how to deal with shyness, loneliness and lack of confidence which I ve had to work hard on all my life