Positive Psychology & Parenting: How do I do it?
In essence, Positive Psychology is the scientific study of happiness. This domain focuses on maximizing positivity, cultivating wellbeing, and emphasizing strengths over weaknesses. Positive Psychology holds the power to make us happier people and to transform our family dynamics for the better.
Regardless of your parenting style or child’s temperament, “Positive Parenting” is a highly regarded, scientifically-backed parenting strategy built off of Positive Psychology principles. As explained by Dr. Heather Lonczak, “Whether you are a parent who’s trying to dodge potential problems; or you are already pulling your hair out— you’ve come to the right place”.
Lucky for all of us, applying Positive Psychology principles to our lives is quite simple. Tufts University’s Experimental College highlights several easy-to-implement methods below, which they call “Happiness Interventions.” Let’s check them out:
- The Gratitude List. Have your child write down five things every day that they are grateful for. At the end of the week, discuss the list, reflecting on all of the wonderful things to appreciate.
- The Random Act of Kindness. Have your child do one thing each day as an act of kindness for someone else. Continue this practice for a week and uncover how doing acts of service for someone else makes your child feel.
- The Three Good Things List. Similar to the gratitude list, this daily list should consist of three good things that happened on a specific day. Continue this practice for a week to help shift your child’s focus from bad occurrences to good ones.
- The Strengths List. Outline your child’s top five strengths and then have your child draw upon those strengths over the next week to improve their sense of self.
- The Savoring. Instead of rushing through yours and your child’s usual routine, slow down and try to savor a particularly pleasurable moment. Practicing mindfulness with your child increases collective awareness of the moment and decreases levels of anxiety and stress.
- The Goal Chart. Another way to improve wellbeing is to set goals. Create a short-term and long-term goal chart that outlines viable goals for your child. Watching achievements stack up makes anyone feel fulfilled, contributing greatly to one’s overall sense of accomplishment and self.
The strategies above will arm you and your child to face adversity and will in turn, maximize subsequent healthy development. It is important to highlight that Positive Parenting is relevant to all developmental periods. Toddler or teenager, this strategy will empower your children to maximize their potential as resilient, joyful, and fulfilled individuals, and leave you with a greater sense of joy and calm in the home.