Today is a very special day because it is my daughter’s birthday. There are lots of things I’ve forgotten over the years but this day, forty-six years ago is the day I became a Mom. And it was right. And it was wonderful.
My daughter was one of those people who was clear that she wanted to go to University, and that she wanted to study Engineering. She has never regretted her decision.
But it’s not that simple for all our kids. So, I thought that I’d celebrate her birthday by talking about how we can help all our kids determine their route to adulthood.
Help Your Kids Identify Their Strengths
How well do you know your children? Each of our kids is unique with their own special talents and sometimes we overlook identifying their particular strengths.
The better we know them, the more we can encourage them to take part in activities in which they will excel. The more they excel the better they are going to feel about themselves. Success breeds success.
I recall one time when we were house hunting and our pre-teen kids were interested in the houses we were visiting. At one point we went into a house that was empty of furniture. As most of us are aware, it can be more challenging to imagine living in a room that is currently empty. But not my daughter. She commented that she prefers to look at an empty room. She explained when a room contains furniture she has to remove it all in her mind and then furnish it with her own belongings.
I was floored. I had never realized she had such a well-developed sense of space. And I told her that she was unique in this. She was surprised as well. She thought everyone saw the world the same way she does.
Thinking about our children’s talents is an interesting exercise. Think about them emotionally, physically, socially and intellectually. You might be surprised what occurs to you. Talk to others who know your children. Their caregivers, grandparents, teachers or coaches will have noticed traits you may not have identified.
Simply paying attention works well. We get so busy with the day-to-day hustle and bustle of simply getting out of the house in the morning and homework, dinner and bedtime in the evening, that we miss just simply watching our kids. If you want to identify your kids’ talents, pay particular attention to how they handle different situations and the choices they make. When does he seem happiest? When is he really focused and engaged?
Then listen to him. Take him out for lunch and ask him what he thinks he’s good at. What school subjects does he love or hate? What books does he like best? Why? What hobbies would he like to pursue? Let him talk and you simply listen. As he talks he may find himself discovering activities he wishes he could pursue. Or he may become aware of strengths he didn’t know he had.
Once you have identified strengths in your child pay attention and comment when you see a particularly unique behavior. The trick is to note the positive qualities you have identified, not those you wish he had.
When he was born you had visions of Saturday afternoons at the edge of the soccer field watching your son take the ball down the field and into the net. But after paying strict attention to his choices and talking to the other adults in his life, you know that soccer is not for him. His strength is in creativity and he loves to paint and draw.
Sit down with him and help him identify times when he can use his talent. Would he like to take a painting course? Maybe he could approach the drama class to see if they need set designers.
If he is not used to seeing himself as a creative person, he may not see opportunities to use his ability.
When you offer suggestions, remember they are just that. Let him demur if he wishes. Give him time to think about what he wants to do. But do plant some suggestions.
Focus on his creative efforts. “Martin, the drawing you did as part of you last school project is really interesting. It makes your presentation much more dynamic and alive.”
When you encourage your kid’s strengths you’re also accepting him unconditionally for the unique person he truly is.
If You Live on Vancouver Island Kathy will be coming to your community.
I am looking forward to speaking at the Connecting The Dots conference for parents. It’s being help at Royal Bay Secondary School in Victoria.
As always my presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I will have my kindle with me on the trip.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
I am told the books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.