Dr. Reckmeyer, mother of four and director of Gallup's Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center, wrote the book to offer practical strategies for understanding and utilizing your own strengths as well as those of your children. The book also includes two access codes for online strengths-assessment tests and thorough explanations of test results.

We asked Dr. Reckmeyer for further insight into the strengths-based concept and her own experiences in bringing up four strength-savvy kids.

WP: There are so many parenting books on the market. Why should parents read yours?

There's a lot of good advice out there, but there's also a lot of blanket advice - I don't know how you can take a one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. Each parent and each child are unique, and strengths-based parenting helps to unlock the question of 'Who is my child?' Once you know that, then you can best parent him or her. This book is really geared toward both parents and children, and it focuses on each one's natural inclinations and how those can help you to create positive pathways. Our perspective is it's really about embracing what you and your child are naturally good at and what you're interested in, versus trying to fix what's wrong, or trying to push your child to become someone else's idea of 'perfect.'

WP: Can you give a brief definition of strengths-based parenting?

It's using your strengths as a parent, and understanding your children's talents and interests to help them in their journey of growth, as well as to help them achieve their goals so they can then find that spark that ignites him down a thriving path.

WP: Are you a parent? How have you implemented the strategies you write about in your own parenting?

I have four children who are now all between the ages of 21 and 31. As your kids get older, you can really look back and go, 'Those are some of the things we did, and look how they turned out.' You don't always know that when you're in the midst of the teenage years or the two-year-old temper tantrums, but I have four kids today who are each pursuing their own interests and their different paths. Besides the fact that they are all individual human beings, we didn't ever really push them to be the same. You have to appreciate each person's interests, their inclinations and their needs.

Several of my kids are very competitive, so when they were growing up it was really important to have some kind of outlet for those competitive natures. When they were little, they could be easily motivated to get things done by saying [something like], 'How quickly can you get your shoes put away?' When a few of them were off at college, I would send texts that wouldn't always be responded to and that would make me a little bit crazy. But as soon as I would put a text out that said, 'Hey, which one of you is going to answer my text first,' then I got immediate results. Those are just little things, but I think when you understand kids' motivators it can help small matters from becoming overblown issues.

WP: What advice would you give to parents who feel they are being pressured into finding a perfect way to parent?

Kids are important. They are our future, so it is worth taking [parenting] very seriously, but a lot of parents feel like they have to be a superhero when it comes to parenting. But really, what would a perfect parent be? Maybe even more importantly, what's a perfect child? Today, many would say it's a child who is well-rounded. I like to ask [parents] if they're well-rounded, and more importantly, do they need to be well-rounded in their daily life today. In the real world, not many adults have really mastered music, sports, math, history, English, whatever, or gotten perfect grades in all those things. But somehow, there is that push out there that that's what kids are supposed to do. We get so involved in our kids lives, and days are so busy that it's hard for parents to step back and have perspective about what's going on, and what they're really asking of kids, and why they're trying to be just like their next door neighbor.

The message in this book is it's really important for parents to accept, appreciate and build on the unique talents of their child. You have to know yourself, you have to know your strengths as a parent, and then you have to understand your child as an individual with their own strengths as well. You have to consider the big picture. Know that your child is not going to be good at everything he or she does, but you can provide experiences for them to help sort that. When you see your child has success, you can encourage more of that.

WP: What are a few positive results of a strengths-based parenting style?

We know that the more you use your strengths to do what you do best, the more likely it is that you're going to report a boost in positive emotions, such as enjoyment and happiness. We know that people who have the opportunity to focus on their strengths are more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life, and six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs. It does improve your confidence, direction, hope and kindness toward others.

WP: What is the main strengths-based takeaway for kids?

Kids ought to try different experiences and activities that they think they're interested in or that they think they might like, but they shouldn't expect to like or be good at all of them. They don't need to feel like they have to do everything to the point of being well rounded. It's important for them to really think about and identify what they have talent for, and then find ways to grow those talents into strengths, and to know that natural talents need exercise. Find ways to use your talents, keep trying them out in different experiences, and see how you can parlay them all into something that really works for you.