Life with kids in Sydney's East
It is important to remember that our brain does not fully develop until we are 25 years of age. Sorry! Not what you wanted to hear, but worth bearing in mind. Do you ever catch yourself thinking 'you're behaving like a child' about your children?! I know I do! I find it helpful to remind myself that children have limited psychological and social resources. This is not to say that this excuses all inappropriate behaviour, but that it is important we provide clear boundaries, build their resources, and resilience.
If you are needing help with boundaries I can highly recommend the free 123 Magic and Emotion Coaching course run in partnership with Ashfield Council and CatholicCare (it is also available in other areas).
Now to build resources and resilience... Research into Strength-Based Parenting (SBP) indicates that it reduces stress in children and increases their ability to cope with adversity. SBP is "a style of parenting that seeks to deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, positive processes and positive qualities in one's children" Waters (2015).
So how can you be a SBP? Here are some tips to get you started..
1. Identify your own strengths, visit viacharacter.org/survey/account/register to complete a free 15 minute survey. It rates your strengths from 1-24. When you know and use your top 5 strengths regularly you improve your own wellbeing. Discuss with your children what your strengths are.
2. Identify your chidrens' strengths. Children 10 years and older can complete the VIA Youth Survey. For younger children have a look at the 24 scientifically validated strengths here and ways to enhance them: growingstrongminds.com/character-strengths. Which 5 strengths are your children using most often, energize them when used, and are authentically them?
3. Spot strengths in each other. Praise with strengths, for example, "Great job on your homework. I like how you used your strength of perseverance, you kept trying even when it was difficult." "Excellent use of your bravery strength, performing on stage in front of all those people." "Nice demonstration of kindness, helping your brother out like that."
4. As a family focus on a strength for a week. Make yourselves some strength cards or if time poor purchase these! growingstrongminds.com/product-page/posters
Remember what we focus on grows...
Nicole Nossiter is a Psychologist and Founder of Growing Strong Minds