What you are referring to is Positive Parenting (National Childbirth Trust [NCT], n.d.) and according to Seay, et al. (2014), positive parenting can be a powerful approach.
Referring to Lea Waters (2017), who is involved in a lot of research on the subject, the NCT points out that:
Often our natural default position, as a parent and a partner, is to nit-pick. It’s easy to focus on what your baby or toddler is doing wrong. But shifting your focus to their strengths is the blueprint of this parenting style. And the research shows it’s a more effective way to parent (Waters, 2017).
We’re under social pressures to ‘fix’ our kids’ behaviours based on what we think is missing or lacking. This may be the way we were parented ourselves, so it might have become our default setting. But by learning how to shift our focus to our child’s strengths, we can override this negativity bias.
Lower rates of depression in Positive Parented Children.
The NCT points out, with references if you use the selector at the top to 'show references', that:
The research is extensive and compelling. Favourable outcomes for the child range from social, to emotional, to behavioural, to language, cognition and health benefits (Hartwig et al, 2017).
Studies show that using positive parenting strategies with babies and toddlers:
- improves social-emotional development and reduces disruptive behaviours, e.g. attention problems, hyperactivity, aggression, separation distress and externalising problems
- positively influences cognitive outcomes in later toddlerdom (at 18, 24 and 36 months) and gives them a better chance of higher educational achievement years later
- improves their ability to cope with stressful situations and their physical and mental effectsleads to greater gains in imitation and play.
(Malmberg et al 2016; Weisleder et al, 2016; Mendelsohn et al, 2018)
For practical help on positive parenting, the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has a PDF guide, which shares practical advice and tips for positive parenting techniques that work well for children - from babies to teenagers (NSPCC, n.d.)
Malmberg, L. E., Lewis, S., West, A., Murray, E., Sylva, K., & Stein, A. (2016). The influence of mothers' and fathers' sensitivity in the first year of life on children's cognitive outcomes at 18 and 36 months. Child: care, health and development, 42(1), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1111/cch.12294
Mendelsohn, A. L., Cates, C. B., Weisleder, A., Berkule Johnson, S., Seery, A. M., Canfield, C. F., ... & Dreyer, B. P. (2018). Reading aloud, play, and social-emotional development. Pediatrics, 141(5). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2017-3393
NCT. (n.d.). What is positive parenting and how is it done? https://www.nct.org.uk/life-parent/parenting-styles-and-approaches/what-positive-parenting-and-how-it-done
NSPCC. (n.d.). Positive Parenting Guide. https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/media/1195/positive-parenting.pdf
Seay A, Freysteinson WM, McFarlane J. (2014). Positive parenting. Nursing Forum. 49(3):200-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/nuf.12093
Waters L. (2017) The strength switch: how the new science of strength-based parenting helps your child and your teen flourish. Scribe publications, London.
Weisleder, A., Cates, C. B., Dreyer, B. P., Berkule Johnson, S., Huberman, H. S., Seery, A. M., ... & Mendelsohn, A. L. (2016). Promotion of positive parenting and prevention of socioemotional disparities. Pediatrics, 137(2). https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2015-3239