Sometimes in our desire to be good, guiding parents we tend to focus on our child’s faults or mistakes so we can help them improve. It’s a natural instinct. Focusing on the negative is an innate human characteristic of our ancestry. Historically, our negativity or “negative bias” stems from an ancient survival tactic used to alert people of threats to their safety or imminent danger to their family or tribe.
Today research shows that focusing on your child’s strengths rather than weaknesses leads to a more positive self-image and greater self-awareness and confidence. Regularly acknowledging what your child is good at, such as math or sports, or reinforcing positive characteristics, such as helpfulness and kindness, encourages your child to continue honing those skills and qualities. Your recognition of positive traits gives him or her the inner confidence to further pursue and develop those attributes.
By focusing on what your child is doing right versus what they are doing wrong helps empower your child to grow emotionally, socially and academically. This positive reinforcement even helps them develop more effective problem-solving skills because they often learn to use their skills creatively to help deal with other issues or problems.
In her recent book, The Strength Switch: Using the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting to Help Your Child and Your Teen Flourish, psychologist Dr. Lea Waters presents significant evidence from multiple studies that children can be taught skills that increase resilience, optimism, academic ability, social engagement, and self-control through positive reinforcement of their strengths. Dr. Waters is a firm proponent of positive psychology and the benefits of strength-based learning by focusing on the positive attributes of a child rather than trying to correct what’s lacking.
More than 100 years ago, Dr. Maria Montessori, founder of the Montessori approach to childhood education and development, also believed in focusing on the individual child and their innate abilities and qualities to help them grow and mature emotionally, intellectually and socially. Dr. Montessori believed that encouraging children to pursue their own interests independently within a supportive, welcoming environment led to a lifetime love of learning, well-being, gratitude and respect for others.
That’s why Apple Montessori Schools embrace Dr. Montessori’s philosophy for early childhood development and education and the benefits of creating a positive, constructive classroom environment. Based on every child’s unique strengths and abilities, the teachers at Apple Montessori Schools provide guidance and focus on activities that will allow each child to grow, create, and learn with confidence at their own pace. Working in partnership with parents, Apple Montessori’s trained teachers have the responsibility of helping children identify and develop their strengths in a loving, nurturing way.