Strengths Based Parenting
Guest blog post by Corporate Trainer Amey Hegde
Recently, I came across a book "Strengths Based Parenting—Developing Your Child’s Innate Talents" by Dr. Mary Reckmeyer, Executive Director of Gallup’s Donald O. Clifton Child Development Center. According to this book, parents should focus on discovering and developing their children's talents and strengths instead of trying to fix their weaknesses. Reckmeyer says that while the effort spent in fixing weaknesses can only lead to marginal improvement, the same effort spent on an area of talent can make your child excel in that area.
To start out on this journey, here are some ways in which parents can identify their children's strengths:
i) Strengths spotting: This can be useful for kids under 10 years who are too young for online tests. In strengths spotting, parents observe and pay attention to areas where kids learn more quickly and gain satisfaction, and encourage them in those areas. Some examples of inborn talents are painting, writing or sporting ability. If you notice your child is interested in and good at art, you could enrol her in an art class and provide her good quality colours at home. You could then have a mini exhibition of her artwork at home to encourage her talent. On the other hand personality strengths can be strengths of character like kindness, self-control, persistence. To identify personality strengths, parents can try to figure out the strengths which are the reasons behind their child's various actions. For example a child's kindness could be the reason why he shares with his friends, another child's self-control might be why she is able to finish homework instead of watch TV, and another child's persistence could be the reason he is able to keep practising while learning a new sport.
ii) VIA Youth Survey: Kids aged 10-17 could take the VIA Youth Survey, a free online self-assessment tool that helps young individuals discover their personality strengths. On completing the assessment, one receives a free Character Strengths Profile, a ordered list of one’s strengths. One can also purchase the VIA Youth Decoder Report which provides detailed descriptions, activities and tips for the child's top strengths. This report can help the kid to recognize and exert his strengths in different ways. The VIA survey is available at http://www.viacharacter.org.
iii) Gallup StrengthsExplorer: Kids aged 10 to 14 could take the StrengthsExplorer, Gallup's online assessment for students that allows one to recognize one’s three strongest emerging talents. The assessment offers strategies and action items to help students and their parents leverage strengths in the classroom and in life. Visit http://www.strengthsbasedparenting.com
Wishing all parents a happy Strengths Based Parenting experience!
Amey Hegde is a Corporate Trainer & Motivational Speaker based in Margao, Goa. http://ameyhegde.in
Dr. Jyoti Hegde is a Corporate soft skills trainer and a life skills trainer for kids based in Goa, India. Her passion is to conduct sessions for kids on the values, habits, and life skills needed for health, happiness and success.