Strengths Based Parenting
Posted on November 10, 2019, by GAPMP
What Is It & How Do I Do It?
Strengths Based Parenting is an approach to parenting. We are intentional about identifying and cultivating positive qualities in our children. Professor Lea Waters‘ research shows that kids who are parented using a strength-based approach handle stress better and they are less likely to develop negative coping strategies.
How can a PM use this tool in her/his work?
Family Engagement Standard 3 Supporting Student Success: Families and school staff continuously collaborate to support students’ learning and healthy development both at home and at school, and have regular opportunities to strengthen their knowledge and skills to do so effectively.
How do you DO strength-based parenting?
1) Discover your child’s strengths.
Watch your child. Notice what they are good at, what energizes them, and what activities they are naturally drawn to.
Ask these questions.
- What are they good at?
- What leaves them feeling energized and motivated?
- What will a child naturally choose to do?
So, just being good at something doesn’t necessarily make it a strength. A child also needs to enjoy it, feel energized by it, and choose to do it. Look for different kinds of strengths.
Family Engagement Standard 2 Communicating Effectively Families and school staff engage in regular, two-way, meaningful communication about student learning. How can a PM use this in their work? (Data collection and parent activities which you can track are important to showing the trainings you have done are impacting student outcomes.)
Here are some examples:
Personality Strengths: Outgoing, Ambitious, Friendly, Flexible, Motivated, Responsible, Trustworthy
Character Strengths: Brave, Wise, Curious, Forgiving, Kind, Funny, Fair, Grateful, Spiritual
Talent/Ability Strengths: Academics, Sports, Theatre, Music, Cooking, Communication
If your child is over age 11 and willing to spend $10, they can take a survey, you can have them take a youth survey to give them a clear understanding of their character strengths. It’s a bit long, but worth the time. I helped my daughter by calling out the questions and letting her answer them verbally while rolling around the floor. One of her strengths is “ZEST.” I love that as a strength! It describes her adventurous attitude perfectly. I took the adult version of the strength quiz. My #1 strength surprised me. It was forgiveness. If you sign up for the emails, VIA will send you emails with information on how to use your character strengths.
2) Talk to your child.
After you have identified some strengths, talk to your child and find out what they think their strengths are. Give them specific examples of what you’re seeing and why this strength is valuable. When your child helps someone voluntarily, you might say “That was kind of you to do that. One of your strengths is kindness.”
Consider making a written list of strengths with your child. Explain how you see them applying their strengths and why you appreciate these strengths. Share your vision of their future, a future that includes using their strengths to reach their potential. Ask them what their vision of the future is.
3) Have a regular strength check-in.
This is not a single conversation but an ongoing one. Find time to check-in on what strengths they’ve used. If you have a written list, update it often and discuss ways to develop the strengths.
4) Foster experiences so your child can develop their strengths.
If you already do therapy and activities that work on weaknesses, make sure you balance those activities with developing strengths. If your child’s strength is art, perhaps you enroll her in an art class. Developing their strengths will help them feel successful.
The bottom line of strength-based parenting is that we focus more on what our children CAN do, instead of what they can’t do. We are intentional about finding those strengths and developing them, because we believe in our children’s success.