As parents, we naturally want our children to be successful and happy. We want to help them reach their full potential. But despite our best intentions, the way we approach parenting can sometimes result in unwanted behaviors, thoughts, or beliefs that can plague our children their entire lives.
As a society, we’ve come to believe that showing any weakness makes us less than. We act as if all of our flaws should be hidden and concealed. We’ve morphed into a social media-driven species that can’t admit a simple mistake.
But focusing on eradicating our children’s weaknesses can backfire. After all, no human is perfect. Focusing on strength-based parenting instead can raise our children to be optimistic, joyful, and self-assured individuals.
Benefits of Strength-Based Parenting
When parents choose to focus on the strength of their children, the children are not just happier and less stressed. They also gain the confidence that enables them to handle all kinds of situations better. From friendship struggles to homework deadlines, they become better equipped to cope and solve problems of all kinds.
Strength-based parenting also improves the parent-child relationship. Children feel less nagged and under much less pressure to perform. On the other hand, parents can shift their perspectives and focus on the positives rather than the negatives. Spending some quality time with your kids can additionally deepen this relationship and help you bond further.
Finally, this type of parenting also allows children to reach their full potential. It’s not that they eliminate their weaknesses. On the contrary, they hone their strengths, build up their confidence, and thus learn how to handle their flaws.
Focusing on Strengths Vs. Denying Weaknesses
Strength-based parenting is not about turning a blind eye to your child’s flaws, mistakes, and weaknesses. On the contrary, you are still going to acknowledge them, and you will still work on improving them. Your goal will merely shift to spending more time getting better at what they’re good at instead of getting okay at what they’re bad at.
Even when something negative happens – for example, your child gets a low grade in a certain subject – you’re going to look for a positive and focus on a strength they have exhibited. Maybe they were able to answer a question no one else in their class got, right? Maybe their handwriting has improved?
How to Be a Strength-Based Parent
To embrace this parenting mode, start by paying special attention to your child’s strengths in every situation. You’re not just looking out for their academic bravado. You are highlighting their humor, their agility, their stamina, and so on.
Make sure to point these strengths out to your child. You don’t need to flatter them by any means. Just be honest and point out that they’ve done something well.
Repeat this approach often and in every situation possible, especially when you would have previously focused on a weakness. For instance, if you are helping your child study for the CAT test, focus on the skills they are already good at rather than on the ones they may be lacking.
Reinforce the message by asking your child questions about their strengths or how best to apply their strengths to a certain issue. You can also talk about them on a family level. Have a daily chat about the positives in everyone’s day and how you’ve all used your strengths to overcome an issue or solve a problem.
When your child starts talking about themselves in a negative light, help them reframe their thoughts. In other words, redirect their attention to what they’re best at. Emphasize the fact that everyone has flaws – the only difference being that some people focus on hiding them rather than becoming better at what they are good at.
Strength-based parenting can help you raise positive, well-rounded, and assertive children. They won’t be afraid to take on the world, take on a new challenge, or go after their dreams with a solid foundation. It will also help you become a more relaxed and less stressed family unit, improving your relationships and strengthening the family bond.