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Updated: Aug 11, 2020

Andrea Seydel Live Life Happy Unconventional Book Club

THE STRENGTH SWITCH: How the New Science of Strength-Based Parenting Can Help Your Child and Your Teen to Flourish


LEA WATERS, PhD helps us better understand ourselves and our children better. She teaches us how a small shift in our parenting style can yield big results in children- and in ourselves.

Lea Waters is the presided of international positive psychology association. She has also been listed in the Top 100 Women of Influence. She is the founding director at the university of Melbourne.

Are you ready for a simple idea that will radically change the way we raise our kids. Lea Waters demonstrates the power of the strength switch!!


The strength switch is a game changing approach to parenting developed from positive psychologist, Mom of 2, that combines decades of personal and clinical experience.

Strength-based parenting allows you to see what is "right" about our children, to discover their strengths and talent. This approach can boost self-esteem and energy levels. Parenting can actually feel rewarding, we can have a strong bond with our children and support their development.

The approach is simple, but putting it into action can be challenging. This book helps us break through our negativity bias with strategies, conversations and actionable tools.

The strength Switch is about instilling positiviity in our children lives so we can build the foundation that protects them from the anxiety and depression that are almost epidemic in children and teens today. READY TO HELP OUR CHILDREN SHINE?



Parents are the most powerful delivery system of positive psychology. 24/7 CEOs of kids' lives. Strength based approach is about focusing on what strengths are and how we can help our kids play to their strengths. Build areas you are already doing well.

Strengths are: positive qualities that energize us, that we perform well and choose often. When used help us reach goals and development. Praiseworthy qualities that contribute to our lives.

EXERCISE: You at Your Parenting Best: Think of a time you were parenting well. What did you do? How did it feel? What impact did it have on your kids?


The tool for short-circuit Negative thoughts. It is a mental switch to flick in order to shift attention from weaknesses to strengths. "The strength is here, but they're hiding. Let me switch over to find them."

Turn the spotlight off the negative and shine light on the positive. We have negative default or bias along with our own long standing issues cause us to react.. Where attention goes, energy flows. The more we comment on success, the more likely our children will act in successful ways.

Strength-based parenting requires: Strategic thinking, humility, self-awareness, self-control, forgiveness, integrity, persistence. OVERRIDE YOUR BIASES- selective attention, Negativity bias, Projection, Binary thinking (he's the naughty one" either/or thinking. BOTTOM LINE: the negativity biased, projection prone binary approach to parenting doesn't let us see our children as they truly are.



Quick Experiment: Write down as many strengths as you can think of that you child has. TOUGH TO DO since we don't have the language for strengths.

Strengths can be skills, abilities, interests, characteristics, traits or talents.

Strengths have three key elements: Performance (being good at something) Energy (feeling good doing it) High use (choosing to do it).. LOOK FOR: Performance, energy, high use, drive for, naturally display, flow, engagement,


Kaufman and Duckworth, work spans topics of talent, expertise, giftedness, creativity, and grit, created the formula:


Four key strength-based parenting strategies: 1. Mind-set management (Growth mindset qualities that can be changed Dweck) 2. role modelling, 3. scaffolding (make sure child has resources and support to build strengths), and proximal development practices (simply be around our children).



Learn how to aim attention away from weaknesses towards strengths, sustain attention in focused ways to build strengths throughs practice, restore and learn from experiences. BUILD ATTENTION- reframe activities from struggle to opportunity. Build directed attention through savouring, gratitude, mindfulness!

SAVOURING- enjoyable form of attention training that captures the moments of good experiences. Build bank account "goodness". Savouring helps train chilfrens attentional skills and boosts happiness, positive mood and life satisfaction.

GRATITIDUE- Is about noticing and actively appreciation the good things in your life. Cascade of neurochemistry that good feelings bring. TIPS: What went well? Thankful thursdays, gratitude jar/graffiti board, gratitude letters, journal, walk. GOOFING OFF- free-form attention allow mind to move in any direction it wants. Downtime space.


Mindfulness is Inward attention- focused introspection that puts us in touch with our thoughts and feelings as they arise in response to life, allowing us to understand, work with, and direct them. EXERCISE: focus attention, notice when attention wanders, bring attention back.

Mindfulness spills over onto our children. Simply becoming aware of our thoughts is powerful. We do a better job as a pent when in the moment. We will model effective ways to handle conflict and challenge. We can coach our children in becoming more mindful. BE PRESENT-REFRAME TO STRENGTHS-CHOOSE ACTION. What strength did you use today at school?


Strength-based parenting helps kids build and maintain self-control. Self control is the key ingredient that allows human being to manifest their potential in the world. Self control is our ability to stick tour plans and not be erased by our impulses or distractions. Self-control is used to steer our attention. Children are learning how to operate impulse control in the moment and longer term self control. SELF CONTROL ZAPPERS: Resisting impulses-making decisions-supresing emotions-stress!! TIPS: Structure Childs day. Have routines and to do lists. Practice mindfulness. Be an emotional coach.



Strength-based perspective , you'll want to communicate your insights about your child's strengths as clearly as possible to help develop awareness, cultivate them, and to know when to call on strengths.

PRAISE- enhances three levels of childs strengths performance, energy and use. Focus on process praise (focus on effort) instead of generic praise (focus on end results), Person praise (focus on character). BEST PRAISE IS STRENGTH BASED PRAISE. Connect with childs strength (person praise) and then praising the use of the strengths (press praise). You aced the test. Good job. VS You're a hard worker who is naturally curious. You put in many hours need to prepare for the test. Let's celebrate your hard work paying off.


Strength-Based parenting is still about discipline. The approach to misbehaviour is from a constructive growth-oriented perspective that gives kids a clear idea of the strengths they cause to change for the better.

WHAT'S YOUR DISCIPLINE STYLE? 1. Other-oriented induction: consequences of behaviour 2. Expressing disappointment about expectations (about behaviour) 3. Power-assertive response (Physical intimidation, yelling, removal of privileges, grounding). 4. Love withdrawal (remove emotional support, ignoring, isolating. POWER-ASSERTIVE & LOVE WITHDRAWAL are forms of punishment- they are aimed at making the child suffer. They send message of disapproval and rejection. OTHER-ORIENTED INDUCTION & EXPRESSING DISAPPOINTMENT about expectations are forms of discipline. They aim to help a child learn. They send a message of responsibility and possibility.

We are all motivated to self-develop: Stregth-based discipline is about working with a child to discover what's blocking their progress and helping them get back on track.


We all want to raise emotionally and intellectually healthy kids, but thanks to evolution we have the negativity bias that makes us see what's wrong, instead of what's right.

Most of us are blind to the strengths we have and the strengths in our children. THIS BOOK TEACHES US THE POWER OF THE STRENGTH SWITCH, and by turning on an approach to parenting can bring amazing results.

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