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Attaching and Connecting to Your Child: ACEs Activity

Score yourself on adverse childhood experiences. Make a mark beside each item you experienced during your childhood prior to your eighteenth birthday:

Did your parent or another adult often hit, slap, push, or shove you, or throw something at you? Did they ever hit you so hard you had marks or were injured? Mark this even if they said afterward that they were “just kidding.” (physical abuse)

___ Did your parent or another adult often call you names, yell at you, insult you either in private or public, put you down or humiliate you, or act in a way that made you afraid they might physically hurt you? (emotional abuse)

___ Did a person at least four years older than you ever touch or fondle you, have you touch his or her body in a sexual way, or have oral, anal, or vaginal sex with you? (sexual abuse)

___ Did you often feel that no one in your family loved you, didn’t look out for you, or didn’t support you when necessary? (emotional neglect)

___ Did you often not get enough to eat, have to wear dirty clothes, or have no one to physically protect you if needed? Or were your parents too preoccupied for some reason (busy, sick, drunk, etc.) to take you to the doctor when needed? (physical neglect)

___ Was a household member ever identified as having depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or dementia? Or did a household member ever attempt suicide? (parental mental illness)

___ Was a household member ever a problem drinker or an alcoholic? Did a household member ever use street drugs or misuse prescription drugs? (parental substance dependency)

___ Did a household member ever go to prison? (incarceration of a parental figure)

___ Were your parents ever separated or divorced? (This also includes a parent being deployed in the military or being away for long periods of time because of business, etc.) (parental separation or divorce)

___ Did your mother, father, stepmother, or stepfather sometimes get pushed, grabbed, slapped, kicked, bitten, or hit with a fist or something hard; have something thrown at her or him; or get physically threatened with a gun or a knife? (exposure to domestic violence)

Count up the total marks. This is your ACEs score: ___

An ACEs score higher than a two is worth further consideration. Research shows that the higher the ACEs score, the greater the risk of experiencing negative social consequences and poor physical and mental health later in life.

Lesson Complete!