Strength-Based Parenting Helps Improve Children's Stress Levels

First Posted: May 27, 2015 11:38 PM EDT

New findings published in the journal Psychology reveal that children may call on their personal strengths to help regulate some of the stress in their life.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered that strength-based parenting could help build up a child's resources, helping him or her cope better and deal with demands that might result in higher stress levels otherwise.

More specifically, strength based training involved an approach in which parents deliberately identified and cultivated positive states, processes and qualities in their children.

"While some stress such as toxic stress caused by a long lasting intense negative experience can have a debilitating effect on the wellbeing of children, not all stress is bad or damaging," Lea Waters said in a statement. "Positive stress is a normal part of the developmental process. When managed well, it has the potential to help children learn, grow and adapt. Essential life skills such as coping with and adapting to new situations grow out of positive stress."

"This style of parenting adds a 'positive filter' to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses," Waters concluded. "While the importance of providing love and emotional support to children is well understood, we now know the importance of deliberately identifying and building strengths in our children."

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