Author brings positive psychology methods to youth in children’s book
For Fatima Doman, recognizing and exercising ones’ strengths are the keys to success. And she believes that there is no age too young to start doing so.
Doman, a speaker and coach and the author of the book “Authentic Strengths,” plans to release the children’s version of her book on May 8. “True You: Authentic Strengths for Kids” uses positive psychology methods to feature all 24 character strengths that she highlights in the adult version and provides examples of how an individual can exercise those strengths.
Doman decided to write the book after elementary school teachers in the Park City School District told her that her first book’s material was a little too advanced for their students. She started working with teachers in the district nearly two years ago, following the death of two students from Treasure Mountain Junior High due to opioid drugs.
She said the district reached out to her because they needed “resilience tools,” or a way to help teachers teach students to confront problems in a healthy way. Doman coached 27 counselors, teachers and administrators in resilience training and certified them with Authentic Strengths Advantage, a program that Doman founded. Some of the elementary school teachers enjoyed the training, but wanted it to be more accessible to young children.
“It was at that point that I decided that we really needed something for the younger kids,” Doman said.
She said that it was a challenge to present the information in a way that was easy to understand, but that it has been rewarding to hear the reactions from families who read the book. She included a teaching section in the book so parents and educators can start conversations or guide thoughts for their kids before, during and after reading the book. For example, parents can learn to intentionally point out their child’s strengths days after finishing the book.
Doman considers it a success when she learns of kids who ask their parents to read “True You” over and over or students who point out their own traits, like being a good team player, while reading.
Doman said that she plans to get the children’s books into classrooms in the Park City School District soon. She is scheduled to do resilience training for another round of teachers in the district this summer.
She said that helping everyone, but especially youth, understand their strengths can be very beneficial to one’s development and emotional well-being.
“One of the deepest needs of the human psyche is to be understood and to be recognized for your good traits,” she said.
She considers this book and its teaching as a prevention tool for bullying, addiction and suicide. If students have strong internal fortitude, they will have the ability to cope with difficult situations in life.
“We are really equipping our kids for their challenging times ahead,” she said.
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The Park City School District offices were inadvertently locked, but security footage was reviewed and the only two community members who showed up were let in and joined in an informal chat with Board of Education members and staff.