Speaking as a survivor, parent (via adoption), writer, and advocate, I'd say programs that are survivor and peer-led (or co-led) are best.
It's not just info. sharing but who is sharing content and how. So often, programs to parents are patronizing, punitive, and can come across as "edupuking" even when meant to be helpful. It's can be like hearing advice on menstrual cramps or hot flashes from men, nutrition tips and weight loss advice from someone who has never struggled with weight, or money talk from someone who has never been poor. Who delivers content and how is a HUGE aspect that isn't addressed enough, in my opinion. To me, If talking and working with parents with lots of ACEs, get content and training and workshops led by parents with lots of ACEs as often as possible, and if that's not possible, work content in from those groups doing that parent and survivor-led work. I think it just makes it safer and more gentle for the listener and also crosses some of the awkwardness and language problems when we're talking as we (all of us) vs. me (as educator) to you (parent or student). I think if we are learning together as peers, it helps. That's not always possible, but I think it makes for idea learning. Parenting experiences, the reality of ACEs, those are super personal and until recently, topics that have been harshly judged an poorly understood so extra efforts to make conversations and content safe and accessible is key. That's my two cents and I hope others share resources and thoughts as well.
Specifically, I think these people/programs/orgs are great:
- @Louise Godbold of Echo
- Rebecca Rebecca Lewis Pankratz of Poverty's Edge & Essdack
- Father's Uplift
- The Attachment Trauma Network and summit on Trauma-Sensitive Parenting
- Rise Magazine (for and by parents involved in the child welfare system)
- Vital Village
- Parenting with PTSD and Beating Trauma share a lot of resources online for and as parent survivors.
- Documentary Wrestling Ghosts is a great film for opening the subject of Parenting with ACEs
- Donna Jackson Nakazawa's book Childhood Disrupted is one of the few that addresses parenting and parents directly as relates to ACEs and is why we worked with her (and she worked with us) to update our Understanding ACEs and Parenting to Prevent and Heal ACEs flyers (though we still need one that's supportive to parents).
- I also think sharing videos about ACEs on You Tube are great ways to open conversations or community cafes.
- For some quotes and resources and conversations between parents and other experts, check this out. It's from the Parenting with ACEs Chat series.
- For first-person essays, there are a lot of great articles about Parenting with ACEs, Break-the-Cycle Parenting, Parenting with PTSD, Trauma-Informed Parenting.
- This is a bit older but it's a slide deck I use when talking about Parenting with ACEs and these are my guiding quotes/principles.
- This is art and a quote from @Robin Saenger of Peace4Tarpon (she made the wishing tree artwork and it represents wishes for the community)
(Foundational - quote from Rise who has excellent resources for parents)
Great reminder about what is needed for creating a trauma-informed change.
The parenting optimist who specializes in bringing people together and who gets how hard, hopeful, necessary it is to work in community.
Louise, who always reminds us what is most central and most healing and that sharing powerfully and power-sharing are both absolutely necessary.
These and other resources are all available in the Parenting with ACEs Community (many from the right sidebar for quick access)
I know there are lots of programs and tools many professionals use such as Near@home, but in this reply, I just shared what I have used and shared parent to parent, survivor to survivor, as someone with 8 ACEs who found that all I learned about attachment as an adoptive parent, was far more healing to my own complex PTSD, than more than a decade plus of evidence-based therapy for PTSD. Understanding what should and shouldn't happen, what does and doesn't happen, because of poverty, ACEs, war, trauma, oppression, adversity - and how each of those and all of those cumulatively impact parents and families - for me, that was a game changer.
Too often, that context is missed. Just as we often used to see kids as "difficult" or "disruptive" who we now understand as overwhelmed by stress or not regulated, we still have a ways to go in understanding adults and parents who are, as Rebecca Lewis Pankratz says, "kids with ACEs who grew up." Sometimes, we forget that regulation may not be known or had, that safety in the environment and the self still might not be the baseline, etc.
There's so much room for so much more. There's new programs, people, and resources I'm sure I don't know about. I hope others share.
And Elaine, please share back what you use, love, have created, found most/least effective.