Ideas behind strength-based parenting approach to children

Many a parent is familiar with the notion that children do not come with instruction manuals. Since babies are not born with instruction manuals, the best way to raise children is open to interpretation, and interpreta­tions often lead to theories on parenting.

One such theory is strength-based parenting, an ap­proach that focus­es on developing and nurturing a child’s character. Dr. Lea Waters, a M e l b o u r n e , Australia-based psychologist and author, has studied ways to improve in­teractions between parents and their children for de­cades. Dr. Waters emphasizes the value of identify­ing and nurturing children’s charac­ter strengths, and the value that such efforts can have in regard to promot­ing children’s long-term happiness and achieve­ments.

In an article for Greater Good Magazine, Dr. Waters defined character strengths as those things that are personality-based and internal, including curiosity, courage, humor, and kindness. These character strengths work in conjunction with talents, which may include things like athletic ability, mu­sical skills and problem-solving. Strength-based parenting es­pouses the importance of culti­vating kids’ character strengths as much as their talents. Dr. Wa­ters notes that it would be hard to find anyone who made the most of their talents without also relying on their character strengths. For example, even the most gifted natural athletes need to draw on their work ethic in order to reach their full poten­tial as athletes.

Dr. Waters’ research has led her to conclude that children and teenagers whose parents help them to identify and use their character strengths ben­efit from that assistance in myriad ways. Such children ex­perience more positive emotions and flow, are more persistent, are more confident, and are more satisfied with their lives com­pared to children whose parents did not help them identify and use their character strengths. Dr. Waters’ research, published in 2018, also found that children whose parents took a strength-based approach to parenting earned better grades, were less stressed, more capable of cop­ing with friendship issues, and more capable of coping with homework deadlines than chil­dren whose parents did not em­ploy a strength-based approach to parenting.

Parenting is a big responsibil­ity, and parents can explore vari­ous approaches to raising happy children to fulfill their responsi­bilities as parents. One such ap­proach is strength-based parent­ing, which parents can explore on their own to decide if it’s an approach they want to pursue.


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