A while back there was an argument on Twitter about whether or not beating a child is beneficial. Some came out with stories of how they are forever traumatized while others applauded the punishment style and confirmed that they turned out alright, but did they?
Firstly what is ACE? and No I'm not talking about Luffy’s brother, the character from One Piece, an anime, this is much more serious than that. ACE is short for Adverse Childhood experiences which is the traumatic events that occur during childhood that harm your well-being when you reach adulthood. For example, your fear of criticism could stem from the fact that your parents didn't encourage your accomplishments enough or were extremely hard on you and expected perfection. Now, this may seem normal but it is not, especially if this fear is accompanied by low self-esteem and shyness. Another example is suffering from depression and having suicidal tendencies because when you were young a family member abused you and no one had your back. You are surrounded by so much family but none of them have your back, so you can’t wait to be independent and leave your home. Are you dreading this ASUU strike not because you’re eager to graduate but because you genuinely hate being at home? you probably have a high ACE score.
Examples of ACE include Physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical or emotional neglect, substance misuse, and divorce among many others. You should note that it's not only your parents that can cause a bad childhood. It could be an event that happened that left you traumatized that has nothing to do with your parents like seeing someone die in front of you, or it could be your parents dying and having to live with an uncle who couldn't care less about you.
We have talked about its meaning and examples but we haven't stated its effect. Going through a traumatic childhood is the worst thing that can happen to an adult, especially one living in a place where there is little to no education or care about mental health. It has a number of health effects both psychological and physical. It could lead to depression, anxiety, suicidal behavior, addictions, Chronic Pulmonary lung disease, hepatitis, etc. It could also lead to substance abuse. There has been a lot of research done with Nigerians as samples and the results confirm that substance abuse is linked to ACE, as well as low self-esteem. It’s not common only because people don’t know that it exists but research has shown that there is a high occurrence of traumatic or bad childhood among Nigerian children and adolescents.
A sad thing to note is if you went through a traumatic childhood and you don't get the help you need, you may make the same mistakes your parents made. I watched a movie where a guy was verbally abused by his father and he swore never to hurt his own children that way but he emotionally neglected his daughter causing a new cycle of a bad childhood. There’s a lot more to note about ACE and my article does not even scratch the surface but at least you know it exists and it’s something you have to take care of before you start having children if you plan on having any.
Below are links if you would like to read more on ACE.
Adverse childhood experiences and psychological distress among higher education students in…