This post about ACEs is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.
I think we all can say that we’re not prepared to be dealing with what is happening right now. Even though I have been in the medical field for more than 25 years, I would have never imagined having to experience stay-at-home orders or schools being closed for so long.
I know we are all experiencing discomfort, but I cannot even begin to think about how hard this is for our kids. I have tried to be as present as I can and have an open line of communication with my son, but with longer hours scheduled at the hospital, I know I am not able to be there for him at all times.
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how important it is to help our kids to find their three. In a nutshell, ACEs are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years). For example: experiencing violence, abuse, or neglect; witnessing violence in the home or community; or even having a family member attempt or die by suicide.
Today, I am feeling so relieved because I know my son has a support system that he can reach out to when needed. We have three people in our lives that can help him express his feelings and concerns during this time of crisis.
I am not going to lie. Working at the hospital during this health crisis has been very challenging for all of us at home. I have been working long hours, and when I come home, I have to leave my work clothes in the laundry room and go take a shower to make sure I am not bringing the virus home.
Our routine has changed so much as well. Before this, my son had events during the weekends, either theme parks or movie screeners. All of a sudden, he is at home, unable to see his friends or go to the movies. His classes at the local college are now online, and we do not know if the spring semester is going to count towards his credits. I can only imagine how hard all those changes are for a 15-year-old, can you?
As challenging as things have been, the support he has been receiving from his “three” is amazing. When he chose his three, he picked people that were going to be available for him. We knew that picking his three meant choosing people that were going to help prevent ACEs. During the current situation, it has been amazing to see that his three have been there for him. They have made it work. His coach at the chess team, the team leader at the Boy Scout troop, and his doctor have been connecting using technology to talk to him since in-person meetings cannot happen right now.
They have used Skype and Zoom. The doctor is using telehealth. The computer and tablet that were used for games are now being used to connect my son with his support system. His three have been giving him advice on how to connect with his friends, they have advised him on how to stay active while at home, and most importantly, they have reassured him that I am safe while working at the hospital.
His chess team coach and scout troop leader have set up weekly check-ins to talk about school work and activities he can do to keep himself entertained. His doctor “saw” him once, and they talked about how to stay healthy as well as coping mechanisms for anxiety. They have been all great at answering his questions. He told me how helpful being able to talk to them has been. He knows he is not alone and he has a group of people who care about him.
We are still in a moment of uncertainty, and we do not know when we are going to be returning to normal, or even what the new normal is going to look like. But there is something I know helps me fall asleep at night.
I know my son has three people in his life that can guide him and listen to him, even when I am busy at work and cannot be as present as I would like to be.
Although this crisis has been tough for everyone, I am so glad my son has the opportunity to have safe, stable, and nurturing relationships in his life with his three that will help him thrive and stay on track for his future goals.
I am not sure if you have already helped your kids find their three, but if you haven’t, I would advise you to help your child (children) find them. Trust me, it would help you sleep better at night.
If you need to learn more about ACEs, make sure to read my very informative post here. Also remember that it is never too late to #FindYour3