What are PCEs and why does your child need them as you divorce?

Are you and your spouse looking at alternatives to a litigated divorce in large part because you want to minimize the negative effects of it on your child? Then you may already be aware that divorce is considered among the ten adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) that can lead to lifelong problems – including harm to their physical and mental health that can shorten their life. 

The other ACEs involve things like abuse, neglect and parental addiction and incarceration. While most parental divorces don’t (on their own) lead to the kind of toxic stress that these other experiences do, it’s still important to remember that if handled badly, a divorce can leave a child with some long-term scars.

Incorporating PCEs into your parenting

While positive childhood experiences (PCEs) aren’t as widely known as ACEs, those who study child development are familiar with them and their ability to mitigate the damage done by ACEs. All parents should understand PCEs and their importance to a child’s upbringing, but those going through a divorce may need to work a little harder to cooperate in incorporating them into their child’s life when their minds and focus may be on the divorce.

Among the identified PCEs are the following:

  • Daily playtime in a safe environment 
  • Quality one-on-one time with a parent or other caregiver
  • Regular recognition and praise for who a child is – not just what they accomplish
  • Predictability
  • Regular recognition and praise for who a child is – not just what they accomplish
  • Accepting a child for who they are

These things don’t have to be solely provided by parents. Babysitters and other childcare providers as well as other family members like grandparents can contribute to a safe, stable, nurturing environment that helps a child deal with stressful life events like parental divorce.

If you and your spouse are able to have a high-asset collaborative, cooperative divorce, you can better work to incorporate PCEs into your parenting plan and – more importantly – into your child’s life. Having experienced legal guidance can help.

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