The ACES research has been very prominent in our country as we have grown to understand that the more adverse child experiences that children face, the more they will have negative adult consequences in their physical and emotional health. This has been a significant realization and awareness for parents and caregivers.
What about the converse of that discussion? What are the positive childhood experiences that will impact the rest of their lives with health outcomes?
A study that was undertaken by Johns Hopkins investigated this very issue. In an article where this work was cited by Idaho Youth Ranch, 7 positive childhood experiences were identified that would lead to adult emotional and relational health. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Just as there are adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that play a role in the future success of kids, there are also 7 positive childhood experiences (PCEs) that can offset their damage.
This recent discovery comes from a John Hopkin’s study published in 2019. Researchers were looking to determine if any “protective childhood experiences” could be linked with positive outcomes as adults—increasing resiliency and offsetting some of the trauma or damage caused by adverse childhood experiences such as abuse, a serious accident, witnessing something traumatic, bullying, neglect, dysfunction in the home, etc.
ACEs can influence a person’s mental health, chance of graduating high school, likelihood of being incarcerated, and overall success as an adult. It’s not always possible for parents to prevent their children from experiencing an ACE; however, it is possible for parents to do all they can to help their children experience the 7 PCEs that can counteract the effects of ACEs.
The article then lists the 7 PCE’s with a summary of each. As I reviewed these issues I believe these PCE’s are truly important to healthy child development and will certainly set a strong foundation for adult life. Here is the link so you can discover what PCE’s have been identified.
With all the negative information and news about our students, we really should be focusing on creating positive experiences for our children. I believe this information is a great start for all parents, teachers and caregivers to consider, particularly those experiencing ACEs. Imagine how different our world would be if we could start with these kinds of life experiences for our kids!