There are a wide variety of parenting styles to choose from. Parents can choose to raise their kids with the parenting style that they were raised with. Or, if they want something different, they can select a parenting style that matches their values and the needs of their kids. One option is called strength-based parenting.
Lea Waters is the chair of positive psychology at University of Melbourne. She has written a book called “The Strength Switch”. The full title continues with “How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish”.
The book is described on Amazon as a way to unlock your children’s potential by helping them build their strengths. “This game-changing book shows us the extraordinary results of focusing on our children’s strengths rather than always trying to correct their weaknesses.”
Strength-based parenting helps children build resilience, optimism, and achievement. The Amazon description states that strength-based parenting can also help inoculate kids against today’s pandemic of depression and anxiety.
How can a parent start practicing strength-based parenting? The first thing to do is learn how to identify what your child’s (or teenager’s) strengths are. Strengths can include anything from curiosity to critical thinking, and even athletic ability and artistic talent. Whatever your child excels in, and is motivated to do, is a strength.
One way to figure out what your child’s strengths are is to pay close attention when your child engages in good behavior. For example, a seven-year old that is patiently teaching her little brother how to play a video game might have a strength in leadership.
Now, pay attention to when your child engages in bad behavior. Maybe the reason your child is being bossy to her friends is because she is misdirecting her strength in leadership. In strength-based parenting, the parent redirects their child’s impulse to use their strength away from negative uses and towards positive ones.
In short, strength-based parenting involves teaching your kid the right behavior. The difference is you are doing it from a strength-based perspective. You teach them how to use their strengths appropriately as they mature. They learn when to call on their strengths.
There is another advantage of strength based parenting. When your child is behaving badly, you can ask yourself: “What is the strength behind that behavior?” You might be less frustrated by your toddler’s meltdown if you realize that his determination is a strength that could help him navigate through life.
Related Articles at Families.com: