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Book explains how focus on strengths, not failures, helps teens succeed in school
Date:3/24/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio The best way to help teenagers who are struggling in school is put aside their academic problems and focus on what they're doing right, according to a family research scientist who has put this theory to practice.

Nearly every family with a teen who has problems in school is told what they're doing wrong. But knowing what's wrong won't fix anything, said Stephen Gavazzi, professor of education and human ecology at Ohio State University.

"Your problems won't solve your problems, but your strengths will. That's why we focus on assets," he said.

Gavazzi describes his strength-based approach in a new book Strong Families, Successful Students: Helping Teenagers Reach Their Full Academic Potential (BookSurge).

In the book, Gavazzi lists traits that strong families have in common and then shows how they can be used to help teenagers in school, and in other parts of their lives as well.

Gavazzi's prescription for helping teens is based on a program he helped developed in the 1990s called "Growing Up FAST." This family-strengthening program was originally designed to help families of all youth, but evolved into a delinquency prevention program for youth and their families.

Growing Up FAST was very successful. Studies showed that about three times fewer youth who went through the program committed new crimes in the next nine months when compared to those teens who didn't take part (18 percent of participating youth versus 60 percent of others).

Gavazzi said he wrote this book because he believes the same principles that worked to help troubled youth can be applied to any family.

"There's a firm research basis for this, and thousands of families have already gone through this program. The studies say that this program works for families," he said. The research that underlies the Strong Families book will be published separately, this fall, in the book Families With Adolescents: Theor
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Contact: Stephen Gavazzi
Gavazzi.1@osu.edu
614-292-5620
Ohio State University
Source:Eurekalert

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