There’s a test of positive childhood experiences to see how resilient a person is. How positive your childhood was impacts how resilient you’ll be as an adult. (I think this was developed to be a pick-me-up for people who scored poorly on the adverse childhood experience test, which I scored almost 100% on.)
I assumed positive childhood experiences would be things like go on family trips, have a family dog. But they are actually more complex than that. Like, feel supported by family in difficult times. So, I guess pawning that job off on the family dog doesn’t cut it. Okay. Predictable now that I see it.
The positive childhood experiences list is so important because if a kid has enough they can actually compensate for the adverse experiences. But the list items are not intuitive to me. Probably because I didn’t have them, so they weren’t on my radar as things that were important.
But I discovered the list when my kids were in their late teens, and I refocused my attention immediately to make sure they had as much as they could. Here are the three items I think homeschool families are most likely to miss:
Sense of belonging in high school.
This is not about high school the building but high school the time of life; a sense of belonging can be found in many places. It can come from participation in activities, joining clubs or groups that share a similar interest, or simply finding peers to connect with in a meaningful way. Feeling connected and having positive relationships forged and navigated independently of ones parents is the key here, because its a way to build self-confidence and independence in a developmentally appropriate way.
Enjoyment and participation in community traditions.
Traditions allow us to feel part of a greater whole. Having traditions in childhood creates a rhythm that binds us to the greater whole and connects us to our families. Celebrating traditions allow for meaningful moments to be had within families and among communities. This can help a child feel connected, garner a greater sense of community, and promote positive life-long memories.
Having at least two non-parent adults who genuinely care.
These are people who are not family members. It is important to have an adult who is a positive influence with whom they have a healthy attachment, a person they feel they can talk to or turn to besides their family. My older son definitely has this. But I wasn’t sure about my younger son. Especially since he isn’t playing cello. I asked my son if he had this. He told me Melissa and one of my cousins. That cousin was really not on my radar. I was shocked. Also the cousin is family. But I told myself whatever. And I bought a plane ticket for Z to go visit him.