The strength switch offers scientifically grounded solution on on strength based parenting. Human nature sees fault in everything, the same is true for parenting, when our attention is selective we only see our child’s faults. The author Dr Walters saw the same when her child Nick did not park his bicycle at the place told, despite reminders. She noticed this but failed to notice his warm welcoming her home everyday or his neatly putting shoes and lunch box at the right place rather than just throwing away.
However, things did not improve, it was only when she lovingly mentioned her child’s strengths that improvements happened. Strengths are in part genetically determined and some are shaped by the environment. Children genetic ability gets multiplied by repeated efforts and they excel. The lesson here is to give the child an environment which reinforces here genetic strengths.
Neuroscientist E.R Sorrell says that from age of six till adolescence the brain density dramatically increases and it produces more cells than it will ever need. Its natural then to be involved in too many new activities and have chaos.Parents should be relaxed and nudge children to their strengths in this phase.In adolescence these strengths are consolidated. Cells diminish, create neural circuits and consolidate. Hence strengths must be focused even more.
Our attention is 20-30 mins and for a child it is even less, for 3 years it is 3-5 mins. If your child is focusing on a single activity it is likely they are putting natural strengths to use. It is important to praise such kind of concentration. But helpful praise is always specific praise.
Guilt and shaming are common methods of disciplining children. But shaming should be avoided. Guilt can act as a reminder of child’s responsibilities and stimulate empathy and remorsefulness but shame preys on the child very person and makes them feel rejected. If you see your child teasing other kids at school a reminder of occasions she displayed empathy and kindness and expressing disappointment that she did not use those special strengths is a good way to work on improving behaviors.
In all, we need to help work on children strength while being mindful and calm ourselves. This creates an environment to prosper.
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