Guest blogger, Nikki Zellen, Director of Marketing

Book Review: The Strength Switch, by Dr. Lea Waters

As a busy Mom working at Beech Acres Parenting Center (behind the scenes), I am fortunate that sometimes my ‘homework’ helps me with my own kids! I had the pleasure of reading Ms. Waters’ book in advance of her appearance in Cincinnati for Raising Strong Children, part one of the Raising Positive Children: Global Author Series on January 11th at Mayerson Academy.

The Strength Switch is laid out in two parts: Laying the Foundation and Building Strengths. In reading the first half, I recognized many of the same academic studies that our social workers casually talk about in the hallways and reference in meetings. However, Ms. Waters breaks them down for parents to understand. The references to the science and studies help the reader develop a belief that this stuff works! Once you start to embrace the opportunity to flip the switch, Ms. Waters provides many activities for different ages to test with your family.

My personal favorite was The Praise Puzzle chapter. Ms. Waters provides detailed examples and phrases of how to celebrate your child in a way that builds on their strengths. If your child brings homes a good grade, there are a variety of ways to respond (which I had never really thought about before), which she outlines:

  • Generic Praise: “Good Job!”
  • Process Praise: “You prepared for this test by spending extra time each night reviewing material.   And it worked!” (praising child’s strategy) or “You pulled up your score by a full grade! What do you think you did that helped you improve? (praising child’s improvement)
  • Praise for Character: “Thanks for opening the door! You are a helpful person!” (will internalize moral strengths are within him)

Her recommendation: Strength-based Praise, linking a strength with an action. “You’ve used your persistence [strength] to stick to the task of reviewing for this test every night last week [action], even when you were tired and wanted to play computer games.”

“…strength-based praise encourages both achievement and good character by connecting kids with the positive forces they unleash through the combined power of their strengths and their actions.” – Lea Waters

The book forces parents to stop and think about their word choices and the profound impact they have on our children. Ms. Waters summarizes the book best for us… “Attention on the negative helped us survive. Attention on the positive helps us thrive.”   And we all want our kids to thrive!

Colorful abstract shapes

My one wish, which may be all Moms’ wish, is for more time.

The Strength Switch was a little dense to get through, but if you are lucky enough to be near a Beech Acres Parenting Center location… in one hour you will be able to get a taste of Natural Strength Parenting™ with a parenting coach. Our strengths-based approach to parenting is based on many of the same studies mentioned in the book. Set an intention to focus on your parenting this year by reading The Strength Switch and seeing Lea Waters live in Cincinnati on January 11th. Tickets are available here!