Because I work in the field of child trauma and ACEs science education and prevention here at ACEs Connection, I end up talking about the subject nonstop. I am passionate about this field and making change so I enthusiastically share what I'm reading and learning with everyone who will listen. Those who will listen are often my parents.
(This blog, by the way, is a personal piece of writing and does not necessarily reflect the views nor represent ACEs Connection.)
I know not everyone's parents are enthusiastic to talk about all the myriad ways they may have gone wrong, adding adverse childhood experiences to their child's score, or increasing the stress and chaos at home. So it's a rare and valuable gift that mine are.
But I have learned a few things about how to have conversations that heal rather than conversations that hurt so my response to my mom's question about what I wish she would have done differently may surprise you. My hope in sharing it, during one of my Mental Health Check-in events I host twice weekly on Mondays and Thursdays at 4pm PT on FB live (you're welcome to tune in—they're open to anyone), was to inspire people to have bold and honest conversations about trauma with people they love. My mom offered a generous and kind-hearted gift by engaging with me on this subject. She is saying, "let's heal together and grow stronger." If you are a parent reading and watching this, I hope to gently nudge you to start these conversations. I promise that more good will come than pain. As they say, "the truth will set you free." The guilt and shame we carry from our past perceived mistakes can weigh a mighty amount.
Photo is me at Christmas/birthday 1987 at age 3 in Arroyo Grande, CA.