Attn parents – help your children grow by focusing on their strengths

Attn parents – help your children grow by focusing on their strengths

via the Washington Post by Mia Geiger

Imagine this: You see your child made four As and one D on their report card. Do your eyes skim over those excellent grades and immediately focus on the D?

You’re not alone. People are programmed to notice the bad first. It’s how our earliest ancestors survived, always on the alert for signs of danger. Even though we no longer have to be on the constant lookout for trouble, we still lean toward negativity. And this can extend into our parenting.

Lea Waters, a professor of positive psychology at the University of Melbourne in Australia, wants parents to shift that instinct. Paying attention to and boosting a child’s strengths, rather than focusing on the negative, she says, can lead them to greater optimism, resiliency and success. She explores this topic in her new book, “The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish.”

We spoke with Waters to learn more.

The Washington Post: Why did you decide to write this book?

Lea Waters: I’ve been a psychologist in the field of positivity for over two decades. What turned my interest to how do we apply this to a parent was myself becoming a parent. My son is 14½ and my daughter is 10. I was doing a lot of work as a psychologist and applying this to young people and to corporations. When I became a parent myself, I started to bring this home because I was researching the effects of well-being and performance. I realized this is working well with my two children, and I wanted to encourage other parents to take this approach…

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