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The First Building Block of HOPE: Relationships

Submitted by Rita Brhel on 23 February 2023

Research has shown that positive childhood experiences help children grow into healthy, resilient adults. These positive experiences can be categorized into what we call the four building blocks of HOPE: relationships, environments, engagement, and emotional growth.

What is HOPE? HOPE, which stands for Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences, is a renewed way of seeing and talking about experiences to better support children's growth and development into healthy, resilient adults. 

Many organizations are working to incorporate HOPE into their approach to supporting parents and families. Nurturings is among these organizations.

Let's take a deeper look at the first building block of HOPE: Relationships

Individuals that recall being in nurturing, supportive relationships during childhood experience significantly lower rates of depression and poor mental health during adulthood. What kind of relationships?

  • Foundational relationships with parents who respond to a child's needs and offer warm, responsive reactions;
  • Adults outside the family who take a genuine interest in a child and support their growth and development;
  • Healthy, close, and positive relationships with peers.

What can you do to promote these kinds of relationships?

  • Be a supportive relationship by taking the time to connect with the children around you.
  • Share information about youth activities where children might connect with coaches, mentors, or peers.
  • Ask parents about the positive experiences they remember from childhood and what made those experiences good. Celebrate with them, and encourage them to think about how they can offer the same experiences to their children.
  • Share information about parent-child attachment. Validate and reflect back when you see warm reactions between the parent and child.
  • Ask about other positive adults in the child's life: coaches, teachers, pastors, mentors. Celebrate these relationships and encourage consistent connection with these individuals.
  • Play and connect with your children regularly. Be silly. Incorporate movement. Read a book. Watch a movie. 

It takes a village. The larger the village, the more opportunities a child has for connection and support.

Interested in learning more? Join us at the 3rd annual virtual HOPE Summit on March 29-30. More information, including registration, can be found here.


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