Both Jason and Beth are childhood survivors of violent homes. But they’re ability to cope is different because of one key factor: a 1 of 4 network.
Jason, is scared and confused. Even at his young age he knows that “something just isn’t right!” His mom always acts different when his dad comes home late from work. She hurries him off to his room and then the yelling starts.
Jason hears his father scream at his mom and say things like “you are worthless” or “I wouldn’t stay out if coming home wasn’t such a waste of time.” Too often Jason hears the smack, that very distinct sound of a hand hitting a face, hard.
Jason, scared for his mom and himself, hides under his covers but can’t to get the sound of his mom crying out of his ears.
Days later they packed two suitcases and left while his dad was at work. His mom said, “I just can’t do this anymore!”
He misses his home, his room and his toys. His mom is the only one he talks to about what has happened. Jason, confused by all of this and without any friends here, feels isolated and alone.
Beth, her little brother, and their mother left their home last summer. Her dad got so angry. When he tried to force them to come back, the police were called, and they arrested him.
At school her teacher sensed something was not right. When Beth finally spoke up about her dad, her teacher said, “I believe you. What he was doing is not alright!”
Jason is confused and isolated. Beth is also confused. “I love my dad, and he loves me. Why does he treat us like this?” However, because she has support from friends and neighbors in her life, her ability to cope and stay safe is enhanced. Beth has other adults in her life she trusts. Her aunt and uncle stop by to visit. The neighbors next door say hi and sometimes ask Beth to help them in their yard. The local librarian always invites Beth to special events at the library. Her best friend’s parents ask Beth to stay for dinner sometimes when she plays at their house. All these people make up Beth’s 1 of 4 network: adults she can count on to believe her, listen to her, and respect her feelings.
Every child needs at least three to four adults in their life that the child trust. Do you know what adults are on your child’s trust list?
Encourage children you know to create a list of adults in their lives they trust. If you’re on a child’s list, make sure you truly are 1 of 4.