Teen Club Hosts Seminar for Parents on Using Positive Psychology at Home

By Justin Wang

Children are usually on the receiving end of instruction and education from adults. But from time to time, it is beneficial for parents to get some education on parenting. That’s why on April 13, a group of teenagers organized a seminar to educate parents on using positive psychology to help their kids.

These teenagers are members of Global Leadership Initiatives for Youth (GLIFY), a non-profit organization made up of high schoolers and middle schoolers in the Tri-Valley area.

The seminar, held at the Tri-Valley Chinese Bible Church in Pleasanton, featured Dr. Julie Xie, a school psychologist of Fremont Unified School District and an author of Being a School Psychologist in America.

Titled “Positive Family, Successful Children -- Application of Positive Psychology in Rearing Teens,” this seminar attracted more than 200 people.

Positive psychology is a scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals to thrive. “Instead of just fixing kids’ weaknesses, positive psychology is about amplifying their strengths,” said Dr. Xie. “It can be summarized into an acronym PREAM - Positive emotions, Relationships, Engagements, Accomplishments, and Meaning.”

Positive emotions can help students learn quicker and more efficiently, explained Dr. Xie. “Somebody who has a good mindset when working is more likely to persevere and battle challenges with creative solutions.”

Dr. Xie calls on parents to show their love and appreciation every day to their children.  “Relationships are just as important for children’s mental health.” She recommended that parents think of their favorite manager and try to do what they do.

“Parents must invest in their children with positive reinforcements if they want their criticisms to be heard,” said Dr. Xie. “Otherwise, parents will only have positional influence, not relational influence.”

Dr. Xie recommended that, for every critical or negative comment parents make toward their teenagers, they have to compensate by offering at least three genuine positive comments, big or small. “This is to ensure an open, positive communication channel between parents and children.”

Dr. Xie presented data from prominent researches on youth psychology, “which helped both parents and teenagers understand the importance of youth mental health,” said Roy Lin, co-president of GLIFY, adding that the audience could relate to the many real-life examples that she provided from her experience working as a school psychologist, counseling students on a myriad of issues related to school, family, friends, stress, just to name a few.

Mental health seminars are a special opportunity for families to learn how to bond and for parents to raise their kids better, said MC’s of the seminar, Daphne Yan and Matthew Yuan. “Most families don’t get to talk to a professional psychologist, and this seminar was that opportunity. That’s why over the years our event has been well received.”

GLIFY’s youth mental health seminar is an annual event. This was also the second year Dr. Xie had been featured as a speaker. Prior to her talk, parents already sent in dozens of questions. Her talk struck such a chord among attending parents that many of them expressed positive feedback after receiving advice from this seasoned psychologist.

“I have certainly benefited from Dr. Xie’s breadth of knowledge and depth of expertise,” said Elissa Lu from Pleasanton, a mother of two girls. “One piece of her advice that struck me was that the ratio of positive comments to negative comments that we make to our children at home should be 3:1, while I probably did the opposite.”

Elissa said that she would implement what she learned from the talk into her daily life to improve her parenting skills. “I hope my kids can see my change gradually.”

Stella Lu from San Ramon is a mother of a teenage girl. She summarized her takeaway from the seminar: “It is important to empathize with and listen to your child. You have to hear what she says before you can truly connect with her.”

Dr. Xie's presentation can be found at:

A special thank you to the following volunteers:

Vivian Hir, Caroline Gong, Hendrick Kuo, Jason Lai, Mona Li, Roy Lin, Kellie Liu Eric Luo, Olivia Phongsa, Justin Wang, Evan Xu, Daphne Yan, Matthew Yuan, Gavin Yin,