Have you heard of Strength-Based Parenting?
I'm so excited to share this with you! I heard an interview with Lea Waters, PhD who wrote The Strength Switch: How The New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish. You can listen to the interview here and check out her book on amazon here.
This interview with Waters, really struck me and I knew I needed to read her book. Not only was I touched by her personal story of her childhood and her sister but I was intrigued, what would it be like if I could focus more on what my girls are doing right, what they are interested in, what comes more naturally to them instead of focusing on all the things that they need to improve, do better at and work on. Was that even possible and how would that affect their self esteem, their confidence and our relationship?
So I purchased her book and dove right in. I love her philosophy on Strength-Based Parenting. She breaks it down in a way that is approachable and relatable along with all the supporting case studies, data and practical ways to practice it.
There is something about this newer field of Positive Psychology that enables me to breathe easier, it feels softer and more enjoyable… it makes life feel more promising and light... It’s in alignment with my soul.
The Strength Switch is filled with relatable examples of how focusing and honoring your child’s strengths will have an overall positive effect on them and your relationship with them. You’ll also find plenty of helpful practices guiding you to be more strength-based when navigating everyday life with growing children.
As Waters spells out, this isn’t about becoming a perfect parent (which isn’t approachable or realistic). The practices in this book are to enable you to become more mindful of how you are parenting and will put you back in the driver's seat of parenting in a way that feels right to you and for the benefit of your children.
This is definitely a practice and I’m practicing it all the time.
When I find myself caught in focusing on the weaknesses and getting upset, it’s usually because of some fictitious story I am telling myself about their future. Such as, if I can’t get her to clean up her room now she’ll be one of those people who’s living with 60 cats and a mess everywhere.
This is a great example of what Gabby Bernstein calls ‘Future Tripping’. Meaning, I’m not focusing on what’s happening right now, instead I’m letting my fears of the future take over and I’m responding to the present moment as if those future fears are true.
As I’m sure you’re already realizing, this isn’t doing anyone any favors… and so it’s a practice. Back to the present. How can I support them, see them right now and honor who they are in this minute? When I can truly see them in the present I see two beautifully loving, smart, caring, thoughtful and courageous girls. Each with their own unique strengths.
I’m trying to find that subtle line between honoring, celebrating and encouraging their strengths yet still supporting them in using their strengths to navigate their weaknesses in a way that’ll carry them through life.
Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear about your favorite parenting styles and/or books. And where do you find yourself getting stuck in adapting new ways of parenting?
Love and gratitude,