As an educational psychologist with an interest in positive psychology, I'd been really looking forward to reading this book and it didn't disappoint me. Hooper has of course drawn on Seligman's recent book, "Flourish", but her skill is how she applies these ideas to working with children. She has adapted Seligman's five core elements of a flourishing life (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment) and thought about these in the context of child development, to come up with her own structure to help build psychological well being in children: developing personal strengths, developing emotional well being, using positive communication, developing learning strengths and building resilience.
For me, the real skill of this book is the sensitivity that Hooper shows in her understanding of children and their needs. I loved the way that she wrote about the positive value of emotions, and how she argues that a unique feature of children is their need to grow and develop, which means that, yes, sometimes they get things wrong, but this is the task that every child faces.
Hooper has used a good deal of recent research to inform her work, but she does this in an accessible way, and its easy to see how someone could apply these ideas in their parenting, or in their professional work with children. These are laid out very clearly: three ways to achieve this, five key elements of that, seven components of the other. (If I were to criticise this book, it would be that the frequent list making made it sometimes a bit difficult to hold onto the big picture, but I suspect that says as much about me as it does about the book - I can absolutely see how others might really value this structure and clarity).
This book has given fresh impetus to my interest in applying positive psychology in my work with children. I can see myself recommending it to so many different people, including parents, trainee psychologists and staff in schools. And of course, whoever is reading this review!
This is a very practical and useful book answering the question "How do you help children to be happy, confident and successful?"
It provides an easy to follow step-by-step guide for parents and professionals to help them bring out the best in children and teach them the skills they need to flourish. The book is a concise but complete introduction to positive psychology and what it offers to help children grow up happy and enjoy life.
It is written in plain English, is easy to read and understand and offers a concise but complete overview of the science of wellbeing. The book includes a wide variety of case studies to illustrate how the programme works for parents and professionals.