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What Is Positive Psychology?

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Robyn McKay describes positive psychology and shares why and how this can be integrated into parenting.

Robyn McKay:
Positive psychology is the science of positive emotions, positive characteristics or human traits, positive relationships, and positive environments and in contrast to clinical psychology, which focuses on say for example, anxiety, depression and personality disorders, positive psychology is about the best of what it means to be a human being.

So when you bring positive psychology into your family and use it with your children, suddenly you are looking at what’s right with them, what are their strengths and their abilities and their talents and you are cultivating the sense of well being within them that will help them be successful in their lives.

Let me give you some examples on how you can do that. One of the first things that you can do is really start naming your child’s strengths. So notice if she really loves to read books. That might be an indicator that she has some linguistic or verbal abilities. Perhaps she is an early second language learner and you could get her involved in French classes or Spanish classes for example.

Or if your little boy seems to be an extraordinary thinker with his math skills and he can figure out problems really quickly and multiplying numbers together very quickly perhaps you would want to introduce him to chess for example as a way of learning strategy.

For other children perhaps they are kinesthetically talented so they are really good athletes or dancers and so you would want to cultivate that strength as well by getting them involved in dance activities or sports activities where they can really build those talents into strengths.

What we find is, rather than children being well rounded, the ones who are the best, the leaders are the ones who really focus on a couple of activities very strongly and don’t worry so much about their weaknesses, and that’s another tip for bringing positive psychology into your family is yeah, everybody has weaknesses, but we don’t necessarily need to focus on them and we certainly don’t need to spend a whole lot of time building up our weaknesses when we could be having a whole lot of fun focusing on our strengths.

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