Kids and teens who have experienced intense or severe adversity and toxic stress may also be sensitized to other stressors that follow. Their stress responses may be more easily activated, and they may have greater stress responses than peers who haven’t had similar experiences. When our kids may seem to be blowing things out of proportion and overreacting – it’s likely not “all in their head,” and they’re probably not just taking things too personally. Their responses could be because they’re biologically more sensitive to the experience of the stressors that they’re feeling.
When we’ve experienced ACEs, our bodies may continue to make more stress hormones than the average person. Throughout childhood and adolescence, that can look and feel like having trouble sleeping, difficulty focusing on tasks or paying attention and learning, or struggling with self-regulation.