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Fathers & ACEs: C. Clayton Daniels Jr. & B. Hamel

    Byron Hamel (AKA Trauma Dad) & Charles Clayton Daniels Jr. (CEO & Founder of Father's Uplift) are this month's featured guests.

    They will speak about their own experiences as fathers.

    They will discuss their professional advocacy work as well. In their own ways, they both support and celebrate fathering. They both break silence and educate others about the specific challenges of fathering with adverse childhood experiences.

Hi Everyone! Welcome to the Parenting with ACEs Chat. We are so glad you are here! Dana and I (both from ACEs Connection Network) are here to co-moderate.
Our featured guests are Byron Hamel, AKA “Trauma Dad” and Charles Clayton Daniels, Jr. CEO of Father’s Uplift.
Charles is pictured to the left and Byron is pictured to the right.
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They’ll be chatting about their own lives and work, especially as relates to fathers, fathering, child advocacy and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). More details about Byron and Charles can be found here.
For those of you new to ACEs Connection Network and the Parenting with ACEs Community - WELCOME! For members returning - WELCOME!
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O.k., let’s get going.  Are you all ready? Let’s test the chat tool. Please type in an * and share the time zone you are in.
*Cissy here. East coast at 1p.m.
Great. Let’s start with a question for our guests.
Hi everyone
Byron & Charles: In your own words, can you tell us a little about who you are and the work you do, personally and/or professionally, as it relates to father, fathering and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)?
* Amy here. Eastern at 1pm.
Dana: THANK YOU for co-moderating this with me and for all the work YOU do and the way in which you do it!
Charles & Bryon: If you had a magic wand and could make personal or system-wide changes, what might you do?
I'm here!! Hi, Byron, Charles and Cis.
Charles isn't here quite yet but we can get started with Bryon if you don't mind. Byron: Welcome. Thank you for being here today. Welcome all!
Byron & Charles: What's it been like to be a parent for you? Did you have fears/ concerns around becoming a father?
I would draw attention to the good work being done and being overshadowed. I think that would do a lot to shine a ray of hope that people could cling to.
Byron & Charles: How have you learned to parent differently than you were parented? What do you love about being a father?
Byron: Can you share some of the good work you've done/been doing?
Charles & Bryon: What has the process of disclosure and openly sharing your childhood experiences been like when there’s still a lot of shame, silence and stigma about loss, trauma, emotional issues and ACEs?
Hi Dawn!!!
I'm more about making sure good deeds don't get lost in the mix. I make films about good people doing good things, and these films attempt to let people at risk know that they are not alone, and that people care
Hi. sorry, I'm having trouble keeping up because I read slow
I'm a former school nurse, now Nursing Director for public health. Also involved with work around the epidemic of substance use disorder. ACE's impact children and families in so many ways. With a magic wand I would end the opioid epidemic (the source of a lot of trauma) and provide families with the support they need. So glad to hear you are addressing fathers needs.
That's o.k. Byron!!!
No worries Byron ~ We're thrilled you're with us!
Charles had to step out and might join later. So we can all join the conversation WITH you.
Bryon, you've mentioned that sometimes people can "weaponize" your past. Can you explain how that happens and what we, as parents with ACEs can do to protect ourselves?
Welcome Rebecca. I'm so glad you are here and part of this chat.
That's a really great question about weaponizing a person's past
Dawn: Can you share as well about some of your own good work?
I can explain that we should only reveal exactly what we are comfortable revealing, and no more than that. I have experience with people trying to stage interventions when I reveal I have been abused. They automatically assume I myself am an abuser.
In essence, I get abused twice, because I was abused once
Bryon: That's just awful. Do you feel that's an issue many survivor parents face? I have to say that I've faced that as well but I think it's an assumption made even more often about men.
these aren't people who care. They are people who want to be heroes.
Byron & Others: That can't make coming forward, disclosure or getting any sort of support any easier.
Byron, I have experienced that fear.
I don't know if it's made more often about men, but I do know it was made about me. I have tattoos and muscles and I cuss a lot.
Dawn: How have you deal with that?
How do you counter that in your own healing and parenting? It's so unfair. That's part of why we wanted to do this chat. To talk about real life experiences together.
In interviewing fathers for the book Parenting with PTSD, I've discussed this fear many, many times.
Dawn: Can you share more? Was it hard to get fathers/men to contribute for this reason?
Comments and discussion are welcome from all. Please jump in, if you wish.
When my ex left me, I experienced a great deal of "what did you do to her" from my family. The reality is it was very easy to make me look bad, and a person who didn't like me anymore did just that. I lost a lot of friends and a lot of honor. I have since just distanced myself from my family since we were never really close anyway.
Byron, please share when you first heard about ACEs and how that impacted your life and helped your healing journey.
It was incredibly difficult. I've learned there is a whole other level of shame experienced by fathers. That is why I am so grateful for men like Byron and Charles who are fighting the stigma and helping to rid other fathering survivors of shame.
I was at a conference with a bunch of bikers and we were filling out a sheet about ACEs lol
Byron: Divorces and break-ups are so messier and often much harder for those with ACEs. Pain on pain and layers of hard.
These bikers work to help children who are abused, and I did training to prevent child grooming as part of that organization
That's an awesome introduction to ACEs, Byron. lol
Bryon: Did you have any ACE aha's? I love that image!
my ACEs sheet didn't even rank me because I was over the highest rank
Isn't one of your films about a group, with bikers, protecting children?
What an exceptional role model you are Byron! Thank you for your leadership ~
I think 10 and over might need to be a category for ACEs. Lots of the newer ACE surveys are including more because not all has been covered, of course, in the original survey. But that ACEs study sure changed things for lots of us.
yah it's about Guardians of the Children, of which I am an official supporter. The film is called A Cycle Broken
is it out yet??
I'm intrigued too with your film you did on behalf of the indigenous girl. May we post this on our Native Americans community on ACEs Connection?
I also learned about ACEs at a conference and was just shocked I'd not heard about it in any other place. Not at a doctor or therapist office, not in relation to my parenting or my own childhood. That's why I'm so glad we can speak directly together as parents and professionals.
Everyone: Do you remember when you learned about ACEs? Any ACEs aha moments?
I think it's an important self-assessment. I wonder about how it may damage people though. I mean, I'm clean and sober 22 years, not at risk of abusing my kids, but my ACEs score almost implies I am a threat, you know?
hold on trying to catch up
Byron: That's interesting. I see it as assessing our health risks but not us as being a risk. What do others feel?
My first introduction was Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris' TED tx ... It changed my life.
A Cycle Broken was a local run film for an audience of 30K. "If I Go Missing", the new film about the girl standing up for equality of Indigenous kids will air on Bravo this year.
I don't use the ACE's survey as an assessment tool with the men and women I work with. I use it as a source of information. It's up to them what they chose to do with that information.
How did it change your perspective Dawn, about parenting?
Hearing about ACEs a few years ago through Dr. Dawn Griffin and Gabriela Grant, my life was transformed. And my advocacy went full steam ahead. 8 billion people NEED to know this!
Everyone: What are the special issues with extended family if we've not been safe or supported in our families?
Sure, I needed to assess my own health risks, and that's great to know that about myself. But given my experience with the plethora of gaslighters in the world, I'd be hesitant to share that I was "at-risk".
It also changed my life by putting my experiences in perspective and allowing me to begin to explore what happened to me rather than continue to dwell on what I felt was wrong with me.
James: I like that approach. A tool rather than an assessment. For me, the ACEs test was affirming of what i'd been through but also inspiring about how much health my own kid have with less adversity. I'd never realized the connection so clearly.
James; Can you share more about your work?
Dana: What did it change for you?
Bryon: Please jump in whenever. And everyone else, as well.
It made generational dysfunctional abuse (like what has occurred in my family) make logical sense. Also, it made me realize how at risk I am to specific health outcomes, which made me want to take better care of myself physically so I can be healthy and ALIVE to care for my children.
I teach parenting and work with men and women who have been referred to me by probation due to their experiences with interfamily violence.
Dawn: I jokingly call self-care my "don't die early" plan. Because, I now get it is a health thing and not an indulgence.
I started Judo the year I had my first kid because I realized how much I was worth to her
James & Bryon: How do you think men (and parents in general) learn to parent differently than we were parented? What helps?
That's beautiful, Cis.
I had to parent myself
before I understood what it was
Bryon: That's powerful! Parenting can be a lot of stress and also provide us with a lot of motivation, huh?
Sorry have to jump off. Very interesting conversations. Thank you!
Thanks for coming Rebecca!
And James...that is a great idea to think of the ACE quiz as an informative tool and not so much of an assessment tool. I'm curious what the reactions of parents are when you introduce them to ACE research and science.
And I'm curious to ALL about how you have learned to re parent yourselves and/or help others?
That's a good question different things work for different people but no one can or will change if they are punished and shamed for their behavior rather than loved and healed and given the tools to engage in their own healing process
Because of strong neglect elements, and severe mental and physical abuse, that's what I was taught about parenting, but then I had a couple good father figures through adoption and I guess meeting my biological father later
Byron, I always say that I had no idea that raising my children would force me to re-raise myself. <3
Dawn I wasn't going to have kids at all
I think, sometimes, I'm homeschooling myself and my kid, emotionally the way some do educationally. I'm glad to know there are others doing this important work.
No way. I was so worried I would hurt them. But then I worked a lot on myself for at least 8 years before actually allowing it to happen
James: What are some tools you use or try? Dawn: What does that self-parenting look like for you?
I'm glad you did Byron they are lucky to have a man in their lives who cherishes being a father.
thanks James
Bryon: Can you share more about meeting your biological father?
I always knew I would and always thought, "my kids will never experience childhood like I did." I just had no idea how much self-healing would be involved in making sure that happened.
I was 14 and already had been adopted by a good dad. My biological father and I don't have a real connection where I see him as family. He wasn't abusive, but I don't particularly like him as a person.
I admire the honest sharing. I was not sure I'd have kids. It wasn't until I was in my 30's and after A LOT of therapy. But there were so many complicating issues. ANd few places to talk. I've got way more compassion now for those who have had no break between being children and raising children. That is a hard place to be in to have to raise oneself emotionally while parenting.
Mindfulness, yoga,breath work, coordinated body movements, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), acupressure, meditation to name a few...
Adoption is so powerful. I'm glad you had a positive parent in your childhood, Byron!
yes, I feel fortunate I had the time to work on myself before having children. I heck of a lot of soul-searching and wisdom growing and sobering up
Byron: What does health, healing and happiness look like to you today as parent who is a survivor?
Yah my adopted dad is wonderful. He never officially adopted me, but we still talk
"Any man can become a father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy". Thank you for sharing your story Byron
Bryon: He must be impressed with your advocacy and how you prioritize parenting.
Byron, I was recently asked, "If someone is experiencing triggers while parenting, who should they first reach out to?" What would your opinion be? I had a difficult time answering this question.
My father who I almost killed passed away recently and I was able to care for him for the last two months of his life. Caring for him taught me many things. One of the greatest gifts was the understanding of the importance and power of forginess.
health, healing and happiness look to me like a very whole picture. Like it has to be inclusive of those who love me, of my love for myself, and of my service to those who need it, regardless of personal connection
Forgiveness of self and forgiveness of others.
My adopted dad is impressed but he thinks I need to be more positive lol
Byron: That's powerful. Has that balance been tricky?
I think you're pretty positive Byron!
Yes but life is tricky its when we allow ourselves to experience the hurt and not run away from it that we are informed.
James: It sounds like it was healing and powerful for you to take care of your Dad.
James you did an awesome job with your dad. forgiveness set us free of being hurt
Dawn, on who a person should first reach out to, it needs to be a trusted person, and I mean TRUSTED. Or reach out anonymously. Because people will take advantage of that if you ever have a falling out
Forgiveness can be a touchy subject for lots of people who have been hurt. I think it's a really personal journey.
Couldn't of said it better myself Jery. Forgiveness is freedom
You are a good example of it
Dawn: I second what Bryon said about super trusted someone who understands issues, who supports parents and doesn't add another layer of re-traumatization. Someone who helps support the person who is triggered which of course helps improve the ability to parent well.
Cissy, the balance has been tricky, because life is tricky. I mean, it's hard to radiantly acquiesce, and sometimes it's not appropriate, because you have to stand up for what is good.
And yes Christine we all have to make our own journeys. there are no formulas or models and our job is not to fix people but to love them.
Byron, I agree. I think that is why I had a difficult time answering the question. It can't necessarily ALWAYS be the person's spouse or best friend or even therapist. So how does one gauge who he or she can trust. It's tough.
My best friend has been left out of things in my life because (and I told him this), I really don't want to burden him with being in the position of needing to navigate my life.
it's like that strong male silence lol
but it's not strong at all, because I still need to tell someone, and that is a stronger decision, I think
Sometimes forgiveness is a cultural pressure that seems to want to keep people quiet about what can and sometimes does happen in homes and in families and in childhood. I'm not "against" forgiveness but sometimes I think people rush to it because it's so hard to face the complexity of unfairness, injustice and wrong.
It is in our vulnerability that we find our true strenght.
One of the biggest issues we have as men is that we are not used to ask for help or talk with someone we trust, this is because the way the society is raising boys and girls, girls are allow to share their emotions and boys don't. The first thing for us as men is to understand that we are human beings and every human being is an emotional being, once we believe we can talk about our emotions is when we can feel like we can ask for help.
Forgiving what is wrong can often lead to it not being dealt with properly, which can be damaging, not only to the original victim, but to future victims of an abuser
I agree forgiveness is not a concept it is a doing that takes work, courage, faith, and humility.
It's okay to forgive, in my opinion, IF the problem is dealt with
The one thing striking me most at the moment is everyone's resilience.
I agree but again forgiveness in a cultural or experiential construct means a lot of different things to different people.
I was urged to forgive my abuser by many in my family. While they were urging that forgiveness, he tortured a baby to death. Forgiveness did not work for that baby
For me, ACEs helped me understand my parents a lot more and have a lot more compassion. I appreciated that wider perspective because I'd spent a lot of my life being angry that they didn't try harder. ACEs were clarifying. And led to a more neural feeling. It wasn't as personal as it felt and that changed things.
I have to run because I have a class at the jail with dads, but please make more chats like this, this is very cool.
Byron; That is just awful. I'm so sorry.
bye jery
I specifically as someone who is trying to change the way men like myself who have been and used violence to cope and survive are seen come up against peoples interpretations of forgiveness.
Jery: Thanks for being here and would love to hear more about your work and class, when you have time. Thanks for contributing.
Blessings Jery
Have a good day. And Byron keep up the good work and never give up. I admire you
I have other examples, really sad things I won't get into, but they involve lovely service-oriented people being burned alive. I mean... Sometimes forgiveness isn't the answer. Vigilance is.
James: Can you say more?
Thank you James you too and all of you here
Thank you Jery for being with us! And bless you for helping the men in jail.
Survival is resilient and sometimes I think we forget that survival is not guaranteed.
Byron, question for you. Do you find disciplining your girls difficult? I do.
Byron, you started this conversation talking about your work to shine a light on the good stuff already happening with men/fathers. I'd love to further share this kind of stuff. Are there sites or links you'd recommend?
In the world of domestic violence and within the criminal justice system forgiveness is seen as a threat. Because people want accountability specially if they have been made to suffer.
No, I don't. But my discipline is firmly rooted in making them explain themselves in full. It's all about listening and forcing them to clarify, or they will lose privileges
Charles was unable to join because of an emergency. He had to step out of the office. So thank you to everyone for not only being here but joining the conversation because Byron is one person and can only read and type so fast. We have 15 more minutes so please feel free to join in.
The power in ACE's is that it shows us that the things that we have labeled as bad and evil are actually how many of us cope and survive because we have not learned any other way of being.
Katie, I'm not sure. I really just troll headlines with Angela Bellingham and we find voices we want to make louder
Byron - you are doing a great job of sharing as we pepper you with questions. Thanks a ton! All of your insights are super helpful.
James: What do you think works best? I have a friend who works within a restorative justice model? She believes in it, supports it, participates and also acknowledges that it's not something she can do with one of her abusers.
Sorry if I'm missing a lot. I have a visual impairment which has made me a slow reader
Byron, please share how we can access your films. You're such a wise, courageous soul and I'd like to share with others your work.
Katie: Dawn Daum and Joyelle Brandt have the book Parenting with PTSD coming out which has essays from survivor parents as well as a lot of resources. There's the Parenting with ACEs site as well and Trauma Dad is on Facebook. Father's UPlift is doing work in the MA area.
You are doing great, Bryon!
Everyone: We have less than ten minutes left to this chat. Before we go offline, we invite you to take a moment to add any resources, links, and ways to contact you and/or your organization if it’s topic related.
Everyone: How do parents with ACEs make childhood safe for our children?
Well, my films are on TV so there are license restrictions. Keep an eye on BravoFACT for our new documentary airing in Canada and US this year (Bravo)
you can google my name
Restorative justice is a very powerful tool I know many people in the field of juvenile justice that are using it to enhance, heal and change peoples lives for the better. More links to Byron's life and experiences and work. Sign up for the newsletter and once the book is released, you'll be emailed a link for a free digital copy.
Thank you!
Thank you Byron, your vulnerability and wisdom in this forum are greatly appreciated!!!
Awesome! Thanks for sharing Byron.
Byron: Any advice or thoughts you can offer to other parents, especially fathers with ACEs?
I do my best. I'm sure a missed a bunch, so go ahead and ask questions again if I missed them
yes I have advice in general
Byron: What went well, in childhood and adult life, to make you such a devoted father and activist?
I am an intern at Greater Richmond SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now) and just saw the film Resilience last week. I am so interested in learning more about ACEs and how to combat them. I love your question Cissy, I was about to ask it myself.
ok, wear earplugs. If you are thrown by loud and sudden noises, earplugs. Kids always scream and it's fucking scary because you might think they are in danger when they are just playing. Don't make them stop playing. Wear earplugs.
Resilience is such an impactful doc. I have done and continue to do talks following that doc on the topic of parenting with ACEs. If fits together very well.
Cissy, it was actually the murder of the baby that made me switch all of my service efforts to preventing child abuse and neglect.
Byron, I remember you telling me about you wearing earplugs when we first started talking. I do that now quite often.
I know that's dark, but the fuel for me to do good has always been how evil the world is
Glad you are here from Scan FoxA2. We can connect offline to share more. I think Resilience and Paper Tigers open this topic up so much and I think we also need more specifically with, for and by parents. Like this
Byron: To me, that's resilience. You took something so tragic and sad and you are working to help protect others. To me, that's resilience and that's an example of the light you were talking about. Thank you for the work you do and BEING here with us today!!!
Everyone: We are so glad you chatted with us here today. If you have any final thoughts, please add them.
And thank you Dana for helping keep this chat going.
Thank you Byron for sharing your heart with us today! Thank you to everyone on this call for your leadership, advocacy, and role modeling what healing looks like, sounds like and feels like...
Dawn glad to hear. I can't tell you how much earplugs have helped me stop PTSD bouts before they begin
And to all of you participating or reading along. Let's keep these conversations going.
I would take a bullet for any kid. And my kids love me for it
Keep up the work Byron. Blessings to you.
Thanks everybody
I was not expecting ear plugs as parenting advice. It's sound. I love people.
Everyone: Thank YOU for being here today. Thank you for being a part of this chat!
These are the upcoming chat topics and guests: Neurofeedback for Developmental Trauma with Sebern Fisher on Oct. Well-Being, Self-Care & ACEs  Donna Jackson Nakazawa, hosted by Jane Stevens, on Nov. 14 Guided Imagery for Parents with ACEs, with Belleruth Naparstek on Dec. 12
earplugs are SO USEFUL
Thank you again Byron! And thank you to Christine and Dana for moderating!!
Such a fabulous connection with each other! This is fun!!
I'd love to share parenting wins and parenting celebratory moments for a whole chat some time.
Byron: Keep us posted on your films and work.
YES! excellent idea Cissy...
Everyone: Keep sharing your perspectives and resources. We need all voices.
What's it been like to be a parent for you? Did you have fears/ concerns around becoming a father?
Thank you for being here!!!
One time my kid protected another kid from a bully and then she gave the bully something he dropped. I taught her Judo and I was there to see it
I was scared to parent!!!!
Yes, Byron ~ please consider posting on our Books! Educational DVD! Documentaries! community so our members know too.
For me, I had to understand that I would not put my son through the trauma my father put me through.
This chat has ended.
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