Positive Psychology and Parenting
Recent research in the field of positive psychology provides many useful tools that promote good mental health, but these same tools can be used to improve parenting and provide children with the tools they need to succeed and enjoy a strong sense of well being and contentment throughout life.
Personal Strength: In the field of positive psychology, the special skills and abilities that people have that make them unique are called their signature strengths. Focusing on the development of these signature strengths in your children can help them feel more confident and have better self-esteem. In addition, it helps them express and celebrate their own individuality in ways that will enable and empower them throughout life.
Control: Having control and autonomy over one’s own space provides a level of confidence and self esteem that cannot be gained in other ways. Parents who allow their children to self-express with their image, identity, and room décor can be used as an ongoing way to promote self esteem as well as an intervention tool to reach a child who is struggling and needs something to help anchor him or her.
Philanthropy: From a very early age, you can teach your children the value of philanthropy. From encouraging them to donate their old toys to people in need to making it a part of your routine to donate time to worthy causes, you can teach your children to value philanthropy. Even families with limited resources can share a skill or donate spare change to a worthy organization. The benefits to children raised in households who value philanthropy are enormous, improving self esteem, confidence, and tolerance.
Exercise: Encouraging your children to develop healthy habits and active lifestyles not only improve their physical health but their mental cognition and academic ability as well. Exercise helps children learn to manage stress effectively and gives them an outlet for emotional stress.
Positive Thinking: Encouraging your children to think positively about their lives can help them overcome even their worst fears. Help your children learn how to envision success, picture what they want to accomplish, and think clearly about what they need to do to achieve their goals. When they have moments of disappointment and frustration, help them see the positive in the experience.
Good Days: At the end of each day, talk to your children and help them reflect on their day and think about the things that made it a good day. By ending each day thinking about what happened that made them happy, you can help them learn to accentuate the positive events in their lives.