Praise is a powerful parental tool.
Aside from its usual role- letting your kids know they are on the right track and making them feel good- praise can also be used to help your child develop their STRENGTHS to become their BEST selves.
Here's how we do it.
Behaviour is only the visible manifestation of what is happening below the surface.
So if you want to help your child to be their BEST selves, you need to help them develop the areas that contribute to their behaviour.
Which, in the diagram below, are the bits on or below the waterline.
This is what the program sets out to do.
pOWER strength behaviour
Looking at the diagram, if you want to have the most impact it makes sense to start with the deepest part, the bit that drives every other part of the behaviour iceberg: identity.
This is where PRAISE comes in.
Praising your child when they behave in a way that demonstrates the POWER STRENGTHS helps them to gather the evidence they need to see themselves as a resilient person- see the feedback loop in the diagram.
what to praise
As we mentioned earlier, the premise of the program is built around the VIA Institute's 24 Character Strengths.
Research has shown that these 24 strengths are universal, they are the building blocks of our identity.
We all use them (to greater or lesser degrees) and it is your unique blend of these strengths that helps to make you, you.
It's because they form our identity that we use them as the framework to praise our kids for their resilience.
It's the perfect behaviour/ identity feedback loop.
which strengths do you praise?
Of the 24 universal strengths we have identified 6 that are essential to a successful life, no matter what your child wants to be or do:
ZEST, HOPE, SELF-REGULATION, CREATIVITY, BRAVERY & PERSEVERANCE.
Developing these 6 strengths will give your child the ability to deal with whatever comes their way on the path of life.
how these strengths help your child
The path of life diagram above describes any journey your child will take.
To get good grades, have good relationships, to get a good job, to be successful, they will face many challenges and obstacles, they are going to have to deal with failure and overcome setbacks.
how to praise
Your job is to help and support their journey, which you can do brilliantly by praising their new behaviours whenever you see them.
We've based our 3-step praising method on the work of the brilliant Dr. Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, ABPP.
- 1You praise the specific ACTION or BEHAVIOUR.
- 2You link their ACTION of BEHAVIOUR to one of the 6 RESILIENCE character strengths
- 3You celebrate- preferably with a physical touch to reinforce the praise (high-five, hug, pat on the back etc...).
Here's an example:
- 1"Hey, I'm impressed with how you didn't give up there."
- 2"You really showed your strength of PERSEVERANCE."
- 3"Well done!" And then high five.
some praise do's
some praise don't's
Obviously this is a new process, so in order to help we have created a little PRAISE challenge. Print it off and stick it on the fridge, get into the habit of asking your child which POWER STRENGTH they have used each day and then praise them.
You can start to use this from Module 6.