Troubled moms and dads learn how to parent with ACEs

“Parents’ empathy for their children increased because they began to understand that when their children “misbehave”, they aren’t trying to intentionally anger the parents. “Acting out” or “misbehaving” is children’s normal response to trauma in their own lives. As a result, parents become more engaged in wanting to know how to help their children.

Other measures that show improvement include parents’ beliefs about their kids’ independence and autonomy, their understanding of family roles in which children sometimes take on the role as family caregiver when parents erroneously believe their children should comfort them, increased knowledge about their children’s development and expectations they have for their children.”

ACEs Too High


A father in county jail is ordered to take a parenting class, but isn’t too enthusiastic about it. As part of the class, he learns about the ACE Study, and does his own ACE score.

“Oh my god!” he announces to the class. “I have 7 ACEs.” His mother’s an alcoholic. His dad’s been in and out of jail. He himself started dealing drugs at age 11, and doing drugs at 14.

“I’ve got two kids at home experiencing the same things I did,” he says. The light bulb goes on.

A few days after a woman who’s ordered by the court to take parenting classes learns about her ACE score, she quits smoking.

“I’ve been smoking for years,” she tells the class. “My ACE score was one of the reasons.” She quit, she says, because she decided smoking wasn’t helping her children.

Another parent of three kids was saddened…

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