Each parent wants their child to thrive and be a happy, well-adjusted person. The secret to creating this outcome is to focus on strengths more than weaknesses. Children are just like we are; they have many different kinds of strengths, sometimes prominent, other times less apparent. Sometimes we have to look hard to find strengths, especially in our competitive achievement-oriented world. When you identify a strength, your child has, be sure to acknowledge it and validate it. You will be building a healthier, happier person by doing this.
Sports offer a way for us to see strengths in action. We can all identify the gifted athletes who excel in their sport or those who improve dramatically in a short time. Other strengths are sometimes less visible but are character builders and should be encouraged. Look for character strengths such as empathy, loyalty, resiliency, and curiosity. Find social strengths such as sharing, being a good listener or good friend, being helpful, or funny. Enjoy and praise language strengths such as telling great stories or jokes, knowing the words to songs, and speaking to others using precise language. Academic strengths are apparent in school work, and teachers often help identify those. Finally, creativity, dancing, acting, problem-solving, and more can develop into strong positive character traits with encouragement, acknowledgment, and appreciation.
Kathryn Wage is the owner of the Aspire Speech & Learning Center and has worked in the field of speech pathology for more than 40 years.