Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) are experiences in childhood that build a child’s sense of belongingness and connection. New research shows that PCEs predict positive outcomes, including a child’s good health (now and in adulthood) and success in school. PCEs also help buffer the negative effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), meaning that even if a child has experienced hard things, like witnessing domestic violence, being bullied, losing a parent, or even abuse, experiencing PCEs can protect children from developing long-term negative effects from these traumas. Long-term negative effects of childhood trauma include a higher likelihood of developing depression, being obese, smoking, and generally poor health.
The list of Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs) are:
- Feel able to talk with family about your feelings
- Feel that your family stood by you during difficult times
- Enjoy participating in community traditions
- Feel a sense of belonging in high school
- Feel supported by friends
- Have at least two non-parent adults who took a genuine interest in you
- Feel safe and protected by an adult in your home
The more PCEs a child has, the more likely they are to be healthy and resilient.
What can parents do to promote PCEs in their kids?
The study found that children are better able to be resilient, succeed in school and have better health outcomes when their parents could discuss things that mattered with their children, when parents participated in their child’s activities and knew their friends, and when parents managed their own stress around parenting.
What can the community do to promote PCEs?
- Volunteer your time mentoring a child (such as with Big Brothers Big Sisters or by being a Court-Appointed Special Advocate)
- Make a monetary gift to organizations that support families, children, and/or teens, like the Launch Pad, Arizona’s Children Association, or the Yavapai Family Advocacy Center.
- Show up to events in your community. Wherever you go, you can be a positive influence on children and families by treating people with kindness. You never know who might need the strength you have to offer.
To view the full research study on PCEs, “Balancing Adverse Childhood Experiences with HOPE” go to https://cssp.org/resource/balancing-aces-with-hope-final/