Flick the strength switch

13 Mar 2018

Parenting is one of the most challenging and rewarding of life’s activities.

How to use the strategies of strength-based parenting – and flick the strength switch – captured the hearts and minds of the hundreds of people who came to hear Lea Waters speak at College on Tuesday 6 March.

Everyone has strengths, and Lea believes by identifying and focusing on strengths, by giving children space to grow in a positive and supportive environment, they will be better equipped to take charge of their lives and thrive.

A psychologist by training, Lea’s work is underpinned by research exploring positive psychology interventions and ways to enhance wellbeing, as well as vast experience working with schools, children and families. “My passion is to teach kids the skills and mindsets to enable them to develop a stronger sense of wellbeing, which leads to higher mental health. They are learned skills and it’s never too late to start.”

Her book The Strength Switch gives parents the tools to recalibrate and focus on character strengths. “It’s a particular approach to parenting where you use your children’s strengths as the starting point for growth and development, teaching them how to make the most of their talents and positive qualities. No matter how loving or positive, many people have a subconscious negative bias, which affects how we parent. This approach switches the emphasis from improvement being a process of fixing what’s wrong to improvement being a process of building what’s right.”

Professor Lea Waters PhD holds the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the Centre for Positive Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. As an organisational psychologist she has worked across business, not-for-profit, welfare, retail, local Government, health and education sectors.

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