Great question! Stress is a natural part of life and something that all kids experience. At the same time, sometimes the amount or type of stress that kids experience may feel really big and be difficult to cope with effectively. More and more research is being done on what’s called adverse childhood experiences (ACES). ACES are stressful life events that happen during a person’s childhood, and might include things like family stress or witnessing community violence. These are just a few examples. ACES can make it difficult for kids to feel a sense of safety and/or consistency, and may lead to long-term negative consequences for physical and mental health and overall wellbeing and functioning. That said, not everyone who experiences ACES experience these potential consequences! Kids are resilient, and things like positive social support help to buffer some of the negative effects of ACES. Stressful family situations can feel so out of our control. Therefore, it may be helpful to focus on behaviors that you CAN control – developing and strengthening healthy friendships, getting involved in activities/interests that build your confidence and mood, reaching out to trusted adults in your community like coaches/teachers/community leaders, and being connected with a therapist if you need additional positive support. Lastly, tough times and situations do not fully define who we are – they are a part of us. Our actions and choices in response to them are really what helps us understand who we are and who we want to be as we grow throughout life.