Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs, are impacting many young people today. ACEs are potentially traumatic situations that occur before a child reaches the age of 18. They can include abuse (physical, emotional or sexual), neglect (physical or emotional), or household dysfunction (mental health, divorce, substance or physical abuse, or relative incarceration). Research indicates that around 30 percent of all children have experienced at least one ACE, that is roughly one out of every three Gen Z youth. Almost half of those have experienced more than one ACE. ACEs can have profound long-term effects on the mental and physical health of those impacted.
It is important for leaders, mentors, parents and teachers to be aware of negative situations affecting the young people around them and to provide support for those who have had adverse childhood experiences. Here are a few strategies to consider as we support Gen Z.
Dr. Jolene Erlacher is a wife, mommy, author, speaker, college instructor and coffee drinker who is passionate about empowering the next generation of leaders for effective service!