As a parent, you are the most important person to your child. So being a parent is a pretty big deal, but it can also be challenging because there is so much to know about parenting. Parents learn and grow along with their children, and that’s okay. Your relationship is the foundation from which your child will learn about the world. What your child sees, hears, and feels in their first years of life shapes their future.

You have probably already realized that sometimes your own childhood experiences can affect how you act and react as a parent. But did you know that there are some childhood experiences that can have an even bigger impact on you?

Adverse Childhood Experiences—also known as ACEs—are events that occur during childhood that can cause high levels of stress in your body and your brain. That stress is considered “toxic.” People who experienced toxic stress as children may have life-long health effects that can also affect the health of their families.

Many of us are likely to have at least one of the 10 ACEs—but having ACEs does not determine your future. Recognizing and treating ACEs can make a big difference in your health and how you handle stress—and it can help you teach your children how to manage stressful experiences as well.

Do you think you might have experienced ACEs as a child? At you can learn more about what ACEs are and find information to help you better understand and address ACEs. This information can also help you learn how to prevent and address trauma and toxic stress for your children.

As a parent, you have the power to change your child’s future. Sometimes, this can mean addressing experiences from your past. Taking care of yourself is an important part of being a parent. Along with visiting, you can find resources on our website for ways to take care of yourself and take care of your family. You can also learn more about the different kinds of stress and how to deal with it—because not all stress in a child’s life is bad! 

Here are some additional resources to learn more about ACEs and be trauma-informed:

    1. Watch a short clip to learn more about toxic stress.
    2. Read about how to regulate stress in kids.
    3. Visit Get resources for learning about and healing from ACEs.
    4. Get connected to information and local resources to help your family.

First 5 San Mateo County is a grant recipient of the Office of the California Surgeon General (CA-OSG) and the Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) to participate in the state’s ACEs Aware initiative. As part of this initiative, First 5 is working in partnership with the Health Plan of San Mateo to promote the ACEs Aware among the Medi-Cal provider community in San Mateo County.

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