Focusing on Positivity

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Focusing on Positivity

Developing Character strengths continues to be a focus in our Primary School. You will have read many interesting articles and stories in the Winter Grammarian about how our BCGS students are using their different character strengths across the school.  While children are young, we can help them develop and grow by placing focus on their strengths, the greatest of which are qualities of character because these are what will see them through the challenges of life.

Focus on children’s strengths instead of their weaknesses.

It is vital as parents and educators that we notice and recognise children's strengths and talk about them, as it can be frustrating to work only on weaknesses and problems. Young people may become defensive and lacking in motivation, as adults do when they are constantly being criticised. Children may misbehave but they may also be enthusiastic, creative and curious. If we focus on their positive attributes, there is a stronger likelihood that their strengths will increase and their weaknesses will become less obvious.

In the continual research on the work of Martin Seligman and Carol Dweck, the underlying messages that reasonate are to focus on character strengths instead of achievement. This can have a far more positive effect on a child’s confidence. Not every young person can get A grades or get A grades all the time. As we know, children develop at different rates. However, every child does have the potential to develop their character strengths, for example, to use their sense of humour, to be braver, or kinder, or to appreciate beauty and excellence.

Make a point of noticing strengths in children and compliment them on, or thank them for, their strengths. Children respond well to this recognition and want to use their strengths even more.

For example:

  • Thank a child for their honesty in admitting to a mistake.
  • Congratulate a child on their perseverance in getting a task finished.
  • Say how much you enjoy their humour when a child makes you laugh.
  • Point out their fairness when they treat their friends equally.
  • Tell them how kind they are being when they do a favour without being asked.
  • Tell them they have good self-regulation when they are able to wait for a treat.
  • Show them you are proud of them when they forgive their sister, brother or classmate for having upset them.
  • Celebrate good teamwork in the classroom, on camp or on the sporting field.
  • Tell a child they are showing great courage when you see them coping with a difficult situation.
  • Look out for glimmers that you can fan into a brighter characteristic.