character strengths


Acts of Kindness: Teaching Children to Care

Martin Richard lost his life when the second of two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013. This 8-year-old boy believed in peace and kindness, values he proudly displayed on a poster he made at school. How do we honor Martin’s wish for a more […]


55 Best Back-to-School Articles for Parents

Parents, are you ready for back-to-school? Your parenting mindset just might be the most important way to impact your children’s learning and development!  The following authors share the latest thinking and research on learning, achievement, family well-being, parent engagement, special needs children, youth sports, media, technology, discipline, homework, bullying — […]


Listening for Understanding: A Win-Win for Families

Listening to one another is one of the most important ways parents and children create close, loving relationships. When kids feel seen, heard, and understood, they learn the meaning of empathy. They acquire the abilities to emotionally connect with others, make friends, and develop lifelong social skills. Yet listening is […]

negativity and the brain

Negativity and Your Child’s Brain: How to Help Kids Stay Positive

How does negativity affect your child’s healthy development? It’s likely no surprise to learn that all of us have inner voices, private conversations we have with ourselves. Neuroscientists have discovered that those voices are naturally more negative than positive in tone. Unfortunately, children’s inner voices are particularly negative, usually driven […]

positive parenting

Positive Parenting: Powerful Ways to Raise Healthy Kids

Everyone wants to be a positive parent. But what does that mean? The term positive parenting is becoming more widespread as the practice of parenting becomes influenced by research in the new scientific field of positive psychology. Simply put, positive parenting behaviors are those that nurture the development of children’s […]

Role Models for Youth

How Role Models Influence Youth Strategies for Success

As teenagers grow to young adulthood, who are their role models? Who do they emulate? Why? The most popular article at Roots of Action this past year has been What is a Role Model? Five Qualities that Matter to Teens. Collected from my research on highly successfully, civically-engaged young people, […]

Teens working in garden

Teaching Children Perseverance and the Value of Work

America Rice, age 11, recently expressed her views about hard work and perseverance: “If you want something,” she said, “you have to earn it. Everything is not going to come to you just when you want it.” How do children grow up to think and feel like America Rice? How […]


Why Risk-Taking May Increase Teen Happiness

One of the first things you might associate with teenagers is their risk-taking behavior. And most of the time, those associations are negative. Right? That’s because we are deluged with stories of troubled youth whose risk-taking actions got out of hand —sometimes with tragic results. But what if there was […]


Teach Your Child to Be a Skeptic

Being a skeptic has been given a bad rap in modern society. Why? Because skepticism is often confused with cynicism. Let’s explore the distinctions and why it’s important to teach children the art of becoming a skeptic. A cynic distrusts most information they see or hear, particularly when it challenges […]

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