Another informative and useful session in our St Emilia Young Mums Group in April. We were fortunate to have Maria Petrohilios, a psychologist from GWC Services, speak to us about parenting using a child’s strengths.
She framed her talk using the concept called ‘dirty window syndrome’. The idea of focusing on the dirty marks on a window is a metaphor for the trap we fall into as parents when we focus on our child’s bad behaviour when trying to manage their behaviour. Instead, the school of thought is based on looking at positive attributes, what they are doing well and working with “the good stuff”, to try and model and coach growth. This is parenting by focusing on children’s strengths and talents. That way we can see they whole window and not just the spots of dirt we usually focus on.
A ‘strength’ is more than being good at something. It is something your child enjoys and want to do. It is made up of 3 elements:
- Performance – better at it than others.
- Has energy – happy and enjoying it. Want to do more of it. This is cyclical- the more they do it, the more they enjoy it and are happy.
- Use/practice – it is something they will have to practice, no matter whatever it is.
Examples of strengths include musical talents, creativity, colouring, social skills, and compassionate acts.
This technique is not an attempt to fix the ‘naughty’, rather it is a way to change our way of thinking about it. This is just one technique in our parenting tool bag, as there is never a one size fits all strategy. It is most appropriate for children aged 4 and up who can understand such concepts. It is a chance for us to move out of the nagging and ‘fix it’ stage, and rather focus on their strengths so they can use what they are good at to help when faced with things they are not so good at. When a child can recognise and knows their strengths, it helps them build and know their identity.
Thank you again, Maria, for this unique outlook and equipping us with a positive parenting tool to use with our children.
Please join us on Wednesday 1st May for our next meeting. Children are always welcome.