HOPE Series: Practical Application of the Four Building Blocks of HOPE Supporting Relationships

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In this four-part series, we are going to take a deep dive into the Four Building Blocks of HOPE and discuss ways we can incorporate them into everyday life in order to promote Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs).

Catch up on the entire series by following AAP-CA3’s blog: https://aapca3.org/category/blog/
Part 1: Supporting Relationships
Part 2: Environments
Part 3: Engagement
Part 4: Emotional Growth

Brief Overview

HOPE stands for Healthy Outcomes from Positive Experiences. The research from the HOPE study took the underlying result that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) cause toxic stress and lead to an array of health conditions, and asked the question, “would Positive Childhood Experiences mitigate the effects of ACEs.” The short answer is yes. The study showed that with enough PCEs they can mitigate depression and anxiety found in those who report 4 or more ACEs.

The Four Building Blocks of HOPE

Dr. Bob Sege and Dr. Charlyn Harper Browne’s research shows that PCEs help children grow into healthy, resilient adults, and they categorize PCEs into the Four Building Blocks. We will look at each of the four building blocks, present information for families and providers on how to implement each and provide resources for additional information.


The first building block addresses relationships among three key groups through interpersonal activities. The three groups include:

  • Parents and/or Caregivers: Foundational relationships. Those who respond to a child’s needs and offer warm, responsive interactions
  • Adults outside the family: Those who take a genuine interest in a child and who support their growth
  • Peers: Developing healthy, close, and positive relationships

Parents/Caregivers: How to promote supportive relationships

  1. Nostalgia: Think back to positive relationships from your childhood and incorporate some of those elements to your relationship with your children.
  2. Play and Connect: Make time to be silly, read a book, watch a movie – anything that can be done together.
  3. Make Connections: Help your child connect with other adults in your life.

Medical Providers: How to promote supportive relationships

  1. Prompt Nostalgia: Ask caregivers about positive relationships from their childhood and encourage them to incorporate those components.
  2. Parent/Child Interaction: Validate and reflect back when you see warm reactions between parent and child.
  3. Prompt Connections: Ask about other positive adults in the child’s life.

Local Resources To Promote Positive Relationships