“Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children,” Professor Waters said. “This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.”
Stress typically arises when a person perceives that she or he cannot adequately cope with demands being made. Strength-based parenting was assessed with questions such as “My parents are aware of my strengths” and “My parents encourage me to use my strengths in a lot of different situations.”
The study found that the stronger strength-based parenting skills were associated with lower levels of children’s stress and better strength-based coping abilities. The authors conclude that “While many parents are likely to understand the importance of providing love and emotional support, they may not be as aware of the importance of deliberately and systematically identifying and building strengths in their children.” Read more in this month’s Premium issue.