ACEs Connection

Healthy, happy kids grow up to create a healthy, happy world.

Why does our society and political leaders continue to fail protecting our Nation's children?

The research is very clear about the development of the brain from zero to five. Why do we as a society accept that a parent has the right to parent in what ever manner they see fit, even when that approach is causing severe issues that the infant and toddler will take with them into adulthood. We are so ready to punish on the other side of the line, but turn a blinds eye to the innocent before they go astray. 

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At least in comparison to the people I think you are thinking of I'm fine. I'm married to the sweetest husband in the world. I score about 5, but all except the verbal abuse were comparatively mild. Perhaps one could invent a category of invisible ACE, which more people belong to than many realize. The biggest trouble we get into is turning in homework late or forgetting our books and pencils. We are even sometimes honor students who are escaping to our studies or trying in vain to please people who can't be pleased. We are the people who succeed to an extent, because we are smart enough to make it on our own, but at university nobody understands why we are not looking forward to Christmas. But we do exist. Otherwise Harry Potter wouldn't be so popular. And in fact it was precisely Harry Potter that got me thinking about this. A faith school wouldn't have interested me, but Hogwarts would have been fantastic.
Shelly,
Wow! Five ACE's and look where you are today? Please keep sharing your story, others need to hear it and see that there is HOPE. Thank you for reminding us that there are the quiet ones out there that mask their pain differently. I appreciate your response and your resiliency. What a great example for all of us who work with our community's children to be more attentive to those that move through quietly but are in need of the same care and support. I am grateful that you have a wonderful husband that will provide the fatherly love that is so important in the development of your children. You have a beautiful story.
ACE's aren't all created equal and I had plenty of advantages that not so many have. To start my parents were very good people who were clearly trying very hard. In fact sometimes a good amount of Dad's problem was that he was trying to hard to give us everything he never had. He himself probably suffered from about 12 ACE's all 10 plus a couple not yet thought about. Ours was considered the normal family amongst my cousins on his side of the family. No substance abuse, no wife beating. One of his sisters was even shot by her husband. We didn't see his family much. He left the scene in his early 20s and moved 2000 miles away. He was a person of high intelligence and and integrity who I respected in many ways and had a lot of fun with as well. At the same time, though, he was nuts, maybe bipolar or even borderline with a few others from the DSM thrown in as well. Fun times were all tinged with never knowing what would set off a change in mood and always having to watch what you said. Crazy making reigned supreme, the kind were you were the one who seemed to be crazy while he was calm and sarcastic. Mother was little help because her childhood experiences had left her conflict avoidand. But in spite of her giving him his way most of the time, they fought constantly, mostly verbally, but from time to time it would get physical. Then she'd cry and drive away in the car. That may be where I learned the temporary run away trick. I did the same thing on foot or on bicycle when I got older. I knew it would be worse when I got back with the trouble for going away without telling where I was going, but I didn't care, because I felt I had to get away. I knew I was coming back because I didn't bring anything with me, but I could still pretend I was running away. Sometimes I'd go so far as to take an apple and some cheese in case I got hungry or at least some money for possibly buying a hamburger. I was generally back within a couple of hours, but sometimes it was longer. Usually I just took a walk around the neighborhood, but one time I managed to ride my bike all the way to the next city, but had to turn around when I couldn't find any way around the freeway.

This is all long ago. I am 58, and they both died together in a car accident when I was 40. They both lived through the great depression, so were careful with money, and left me with some financial independence, another advantage not everyone has. I married late, so no children. I've never entirely found my niche in life in spite of getting a PhD, but I do some useful things and have a relatively enjoyable live. We are all works in process. I do a lot of thinking, which has both advantages and disadvantages. If you look at the big picture around the world people survive a lot. People sometimes deal with the big things better than the little ones. My sister was killed in a car accident many years before my parents were, and it was noticeable that in some ways this was easier to deal with than the ordinary family problems stuff precisely because a death in the family is something everyone expects to be upsetting, so while the grief is there, it's not complicated by doubts of whether you should be having it or not. In contrast, people don't take child sbuse seriously until there are bruises, so you tend to think it's just that you aren't good enough or that you are too sensitive. Survivors of the holocaust go on to do great things in part because because their hurt is recognized. (Which is, of course, why holocaust denial is so horrible)

Somehow we still have far too much of a honor thy mother and father morality, which makes it difficult for your pain to be acknowledged. You fee like a bad person if you aren't appreciative of all they have done for you. And then there are the "You don't have children, so you don't know how difficult it is to be a parent." remarks. From this standpoint I commend what is being done here. At the same time I do worry about the impression being given that people who have ACE's are more likely to do so many horrible things. It might lead me if I were an employer to not employ them. In fact the only thing that keeps me from being too worried about using my real name here is that the Internet is such's s needle in a haystack thing.

But getting back to my original suggestion, while I can understand the practical problems of letting kids spend the night at school, it would be useful of more were done to give kids safe places to escape to, and to give a little thought in the process not just to the ones in danger of ending up in jail who may be beyond help, but those for whom a little help could go a long way. I was lucky enough, for example, to have a great sanctuary at the home of a friend who lived just with her artist mother along with 6 cats, but there is always the danger with visiting friends of worrying about wearing out your welcome. And btw don't anyone tell me that single parent households and necessarily all bad. That was a cool place. They lived more like roommates than mother and daughter.
Shelly,
You have encouraging story to tell. You are correct, there are more ACE's than just the ten that are mentioned. The ten are the top most common adverse childhood experiences that came out of the study of 17,000 people. The model is built on compassion and non-judgemental principles. The risk factors are real and for many they point to a difficult path in life unless there can be some positive interventions to support and encourage individual growth. I agree that there are amazing individuals that have built their own resiliency skills and have been an inspiration to others. The model is always there to support, encourage, and to value the person's selfwoth. Many of our homeless youth couch surf, they go from house to house where they can find food and shelter. Unfortunately, many of these homes are not healthy and may enable substance abuse and other unhealthy habits. You are correct, our youth need a safe place to go where they feel safe, where they can get a healthy meal, and where they feel valued and cared for. Thanks again for sharing, Jim

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