Whether you lean more towards “helicopter parenting" or “free-range parenting”, every parent has something to learn from what a study calls “strength-based” parenting -- a parenting style focused on encouraging a child's strengths. For once, this may be something we can all agree on.
A new study published in the journal Psychology shows the effects of strength-based parenting to teach kids resiliency and stress-management.
Professor Lea Waters, from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, explained how parents can utilize a parenting style called “strength-based parenting” to develop their children’s strengths, which in turn leads to better coping skills.
“While some stress such as toxic stress caused by a long lasting intense negative experience can have a debilitating effect on the well-being of children, not all stress is bad or damaging,” said Waters.
“Positive stress is a normal part of the developmental process. When managed well, it has the potential to help children learn, grow and adapt.
“Essential life skills such as coping with and adapting to new situations grow out of positive stress.”
Waters proposed in the study that parents teach children to use their strengths and best qualities to overcome positive stress. This parenting approach is what the study calls “strength-based parenting.”
“Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children,” Waters said. In strength-based parenting, a parent focuses on the positive qualities of a child and explains to him how he can use these to cope with a problem. When a parent encourages a child to utilize her strengths, she learns to approach problems using a method that is both positive and constructive.
Through this style of parenting, children are taught not to simply avoid or use aggression as coping responses to stress, added Waters.
“While the importance of providing love and emotional support to children is well understood, we now know the importance of deliberately identifying and building strengths in our children.”
Sources: May 27, 2015. "Strength-based parenting improves children's resilience and stress levels". sciencedaily.com May 28, 2015. "Parenting Style Teaches Kids to Draw on Strengths to Manage Stress". psychcentral.com