You can help prevent ACEs: Help a child find their three. Start acting today. You can change a child's life!
This post 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 have always been an advocate for mental health. Not only do I think it is important to understand those who live with a mental health illness, but it is also important to create awareness. Did you know that you could play an important role in preventing some of the issues that we have been seeing lately affecting the mental health of young adults?
This week, I think I became part of someone’s three. I overheard my son talking with one of his friends about an issue at home, and I offered to provide some advice. Since I work in the hospital, I was able to help identify some resources for that teenager. All I had to do was “listen without judging”. It was that easy, and I am so glad that I can make a difference in this child’s life.
What do I mean that I became part of someone's three?
If you have been reading my blog, you know that I have spoken in the past Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). I’ve written about how important it is to help your kids find three people that they can have as a support system that helps them navigate difficult situations during their childhood. By doing so, you can help prevent ACEs and, in turn, help prevent depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
I have also shared how during difficult times, such as the health crisis happening right now, it is important to help our kids find three trusted adults who they can confide in.
Today I want to tell you about my three, the three people who helped me while growing up. Although back then, I didn’t know about ACEs and how important it is to have at least three people that you can rely on. I had some people who were my confidants, and they were always there for me, listening to my sorrows and cheering on my accomplishments.
My parents didn’t consciously choose my three when I was a child because we didn’t know about the studies that show how adverse situations can cause issues in adulthood. My three were just people who I reached out to because both my parents worked outside the home, and my mom traveled a lot for work.
My three helped me in so many ways: Either by listening or by giving me advice on what to do when difficult situations arose in my life.
My three were:
My Aunt Gloria. I was able to tell her if kids were making fun of me at school or if I was feeling afraid when my dad used to punish me.
One of my teachers. Mrs Ramirez was always there to help with my confidence. She was there to help me achieve goals, encouraging me to try new things, such as theater and public speaking.
My best friend’s mother. Mrs Ochoa was like a second mother to me, and she always listened to me. Since my mom traveled a lot, I spent many nights at my best friend's house. Mrs Ochoa was there to cheer me up and help with homework or decisions.
I am so grateful for the support I had from my three. They were all so helpful, and they helped me grow from hard experiences. They taught me to speak my mind and learn to look for help when I needed it. I think that there are simple ways adults can provide kids with positive experiences. Sometimes just listening to kids can be enough. I was able to be successful in school and learned how to deal with bullying with the help of my three.
ACEs can be prevented or mitigated when adults and children have strong support systems. It is never too late to find your three, but it is very important that as parents, we can help our kids to find their three. If I think about my three, the only person that had some training in dealing with childhood issues was my teacher, so that shows us that we all have the potential to be someone else’s trusted adult who can help with stability.
Here it is a final thought. You have an opportunity to do one of two things, or even better to do both:
1.Help your child find their three
2.Become part of someone’s three
Don’t wait any longer. Start acting today. You can change a child's life!