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Strength-Based Attitudes

An attitude is a way of thinking or feeling about someone or something that is often reflected in a person's behavior. Our attitudes create a frame of mind that shapes how we behave in our personal and professional life. Attitudes are shaped by experiences, beliefs, and assumptions. When we begin our interactions with positive attitudes, we tend to see families in a more positive light, giving us a strong foundation to build our partnership. In contrast, when we approach our interactions with negative attitudes, we are more likely to see fault, make negative judgments, and expect a negative outcome. Adopting a positive attitude does not mean avoiding challenges and only talking about positive observations and ideas. Instead it is adopting a frame of mind that begins with a family's strengths. We begin with strength-based attitudes to express our belief that all families can make progress and that we are ready to strive for better outcomes together.

Strength-Based Attitudes

  • Families are the first and most important teachers of their children.
  • Families are our partners with a critical role in their family's development.
  • Families have expertise about their child and their family.
  • Families' contributions are important and valuable.

Sample Interactions Reflecting these Attitudes

Intake Meeting

  • Tell me how you think your child learns best. How can you tell when he is really interested in something?
  • What ideas do you have for what we can do to best support her when she is here?
  • What do you do to comfort her when she is upset?

Follow-up during Informal Discussion

  • You mentioned that she's a smart girl. Can you tell me more about that?

Home Visit

  • You know him best. What do you imagine it will be like for him when he's in the program with other children?
  • Tell me what you would like for us to know about Julio.

Challenging Behavior

  • Tell us what has worked at home when you have seen this behavior.

Within an Established Relationship

  • Can you tell me about your hopes for yourself and your family?
  • What are your wishes and dreams for your family?

Your Reflections

Reflect on a time when you used a strength-based attitude with a family. Which attitude did you use? What did you say or do that reflected that attitude?

Reflect on a time when a strength-based attitude would have helped you build a relationship with a family. Which attitude would have been useful? What could you have said or done to reflect that attitude? How might the outcome have been different if you had used this attitude?

Topic:Family Engagement

Resource Type: Article

Last Updated: July 12, 2018