When we become laser-focused on the mistakes, we overlook the fact that children need to be “fed” positive interactions. The more affirming we can be, the better connections we will have with our kids.
Focusing on a child’s strengths encourages happy, active children. By shifting to look at a child’s strengths—what the kid does well—can help us “override the negativity bias,” according to a Wall Street Journal article on the topic. “Focusing on strengths doesn’t mean ignoring problems or lavishing kids with excessive praise,” wrote author Dr. Lea Waters. “It shows them how to use what they’re good at to work on what they’re not so good at.”
How can you accomplish this? Here are four simple suggestions.In a quiet moment, write down what your child excels at. It could be being kind to a friend, sharing toys, always smiling, being a good team player, being willing to help, etc. This will help you think about your child in a positive light.
If you can’t think of a positive character trait, then consider developing a parental vision for that child. Jot down the characteristics you want your child to have at age 30. For example, I want my kids to be honest, hard-working and kind. So when I see them lagging in kindness, I think about ways to encourage them to be kind.
Look for ways in which your child shows his strengths. If his teacher tells you how he helped a classmate with school work, point that out to the child. If you notice how she doesn’t leave a slower teammate behind, commend that to her.
This is key to guiding your child into owning those strengths and strengthening them. The stronger those are, the better for your child as he or she grows.