A new Australian study suggests a parenting style that identifies and cultivates the strengths of a child can teach children how to be resilient and deal with stress.
Lea Waters, Ph.D., from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education explained how children can draw on their personal strengths to cope with the demands that lead to stress.
The study has been published in the journal Psychology.
“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,” Waters said.
“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.”
The paper provides new insights on how strength based parenting builds up children’s resources.
“Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes, and qualities in their children,” 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.”
This study offers a new avenue for research into the under-explored and promising area of positive psychology parenting approaches.
“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.
“This is a style of parenting which could be increased and is worthy of additional research,” Waters concluded.