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For the Whole of Their Life.

Being a Positive Parent Detective: Investigating our Child's Strengths

We can come across to our kids like a negative Sherlock Holmes, always investigating what is wrong, why it is wrong or who is wrong? How do we instead focus on investigating our child's strengths?

Posted 25th June 2018
By Ellie Rolfe

As parents, it is true that we can at times have an internal radar that seems to only focus on what our kids are doing wrong, or at least that is all that they seem to hear from us. We spend a great deal of energy and time having conversations aimed at getting them to change; change how they feel or behave or learn. We can come across to our kids like a negative Sherlock Holmes, always investigating what is wrong, why it is wrong or who is wrong?

While this approach is often natural and instinctive, I wonder what would happen if we focused our parental gaze on what is right with our kids, what is working for them, what are their strengths? Remember, a strength is not just something that we are good at, it is also something that energizes and motivates us, it is something that we naturally do with ease.

I believe that God has blessed each and every person with a unique combination of strengths and abilities. I also believe that as parents we are best placed to see and identify these strengths in our kids. When young people are acknowledged for their strengths and are given opportunities to express their strengths, it positively enhances how they feel, think and act.


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So how do we investigate our child’s strengths?

(Recently I noticed my son’s ability to draw so I will use him as an example)

First thing to do is when you spot the strength of your child, make sure you let them know what you have noticed, label the strength! “Wow, that is an amazing drawing, you are really good at drawing”

Give them opportunities and experiences to foster their strength. I encourage my son to turn off the iPad and draw me some pictures so that I can pin them up in his room or on the fridge.

Provide them with the equipment they need and the chance to practice in order to develop their strength. I recently bought him some pencils and a sketch pad and I am looking for an art class he can join during the week.

Connect them with others who role model the strength, whether that be in real life, books, websites or YouTube.I have found the internet to be a great place for lessons and examples of how to draw.

To be honest, as a Dad, while there are still times I need to address things my kids need to change, I find it so much more energising to focus on their strengths. And it simply just makes parenting more fun.

If you would like to read more about this I can recommend a great book by Australian author and psychologist Lea Waters, titled The Strength Switch.

Martin Telfer

Assistant Principal

The Life

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