Know Your Kids’ Strengths

Know Your Kids’ Strengths


New book by Lea Waters puts focus on positive parenting.

Lea Waters, Ph.D., the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and the president of the International Positive Psychology Association, has witnessed the powerful effects of strengths on students through her award-winning work with schools over the past decade. Lea knew that using strengths at home could be even more powerful and began applying them with her kids to help foster optimism and resilience. Her book is The Strength Switch: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish.
LIVE HAPPY: What is strength-based parenting?
LEA WATERS: Strength-based parenting (SBP) is an approach that focuses first on your child’s strengths—their talents, positive qualities, what your child does well—before attending to their faults and shortcomings.
“Rather than putting your attention on fixing what’s wrong with your kids, it’s about switching your focus to amplify what’s right.”
LH: How did you come up with the strength switch and how does it work?
LW: Once I trained myself what to look for, I could see strengths easily and everywhere. This was when life was calm and happy and my brain could focus. However, when I was stressed and tired or when my kids were acting out, I found it hard to see their strengths. I needed a real-time mental tool to short-circuit the negativity. I came up with the strength switch.
I literally picture a switch and watch it flick inside my head to turn the spotlight off the negative and on the positive. It reminds me that to be a successful strength-based parent, I need to look at what my kids have done right before I look at what they’ve done wrong.

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