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In my last article, I defined positive parenting as a continuation of the celebration of Parents Month.
I highlighted six characteristics of positive parenting, including working with children’s strengths instead of picking at their weaknesses.
For this article, I will focus more on the type of strengths-based positive parenting that builds on children’s strengths instead of focusing on their weaknesses.
What does it mean to build on a child’s strength?
Building on children’s strengths means identifying and using the things they are good at to support their learning, development and well-being.
Children’s strengths are assets used to assist them in problem-solving and resolution (Galloway et al., 2020). This means strengths are children’s abilities in various activities, character traits, motivations, intellectual, physical and emotional capabilities (Galloway et al., 2020; Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2021) that will help them learn and perform.
Working with children’s strengths does not mean ignoring problems. It means recognising children’s abilities and working with them to solve problems.
A strengths-based approach requires recognition and understanding that children’s development is dynamic and that children develop in different ways.
So, this approach allows parents to see their children as individuals with abilities that can be developed and nurtured. In doing that, parents help children achieve their potential.
When someone fosters your development by recognising your abilities, you are likely to achieve more; however, if they do the opposite, you are likely to be unmotivated and achieve less.
Think about it, imagine yourself in a situation, maybe at work or in a relationship where your flaws, weaknesses and things that you find challenging are consistently pointed out to you by your manager, your partner or your friend.
You are given no support, and your hard work goes unnoticed.
How would that make you feel? How would that affect your self-image? Your motivation to do better and to achieve? Now, think about this scenario for a child.
Positive parental practices are important to children because they not only foster children’s development but also create environments where children can flourish.
Positive parenting has been linked consistently to improved child outcomes. Strengths-based parenting is one characteristic of positive parenting that parents can employ in their daily interactions with their children.
What are the principles of strengths-based parenting?
Adopting a strengths-based approach is the core of positive parenting which is based on the following principles:
- Recognising that all children have strengths and abilities
- Understanding that children grow and develop from their strengths and abilities
- Knowing that the problem is the problem; the child is not the problem
- Children flourish when they and those around them appreciate and understand their strengths
Start strengths-based positive parenting today
In developing a strengths-based approach to positive parenting, parents can consider what is already working for the child and what can work for the child.
These then can be used to develop strategies for support. Adopting a strengths-based approach to parenting can begin with three simple questions which parents use as a base from which to start.
Here are three questions to help you begin your strengths-based positive parenting:
- What can my child do now?
- What can my child do with my help?
- What will my child be able to do one day?
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. (2012). Strength-based Approach: A guide to writng Transition Learning and Development Statements. Communications Division for Early Childhood Strategy Division Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Galloway, R., Reynolds, B., & Williamson, J. (2020). Strengths-based teaching and learning approaches for children: Perception and practices. Journal of Pedagogical Research, 4(1). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1265715.pdf