Is your child strong? I don’t mean lifting weights, crushing cinder-blocks strong. Strength, when it is defined in terms of muscular power, doesn’t really reflect all that it represents. Jenifer Fox, in her book Your Child’s Strengths – Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them, says that “children’s innate strengths are like live wires connecting their unique inner qualities to their promise as adults.”
How Can My Child Be Strong?
If we as parents want to help our kids get rid of those limits, we have to first come to understand all of the different types of strengths our kids might carry – and according to Fox – there are three types of strengths our kids can develop.
The Three Types of Strengths
Activity Strengths – Your child is good at this and enjoys doing this activity. These two criteria both need to exist (our kids might be good at making their beds, but it doesn’t mean they enjoy it).
Learning Strengths – These types of strengths fascinate me – which is probably one of the reasons why I love learning with my kids so much. They all have their own unique learning strengths, which means they all have the propensity to learn through different forms of intelligence.
Relationship Strengths – These strengths relate to our closest family and friends, as well as the people we spend just minutes with in the grocery store or at the bank. When your child develops relationships strengths, she learns how to do things for others that in turn makes her feel good about the relationship. Characteristics of loyalty, consideration, honesty, dependability, thankfulness, graciousness, and empathy are just some of the examples that build relationship strengths.
How Can I Help My Child Build Strengths?
We want our kids to be strong enough to rule the world, yet self-assured enough to know if they even want that job. When it comes to helping our children develop and build their strengths, we have to first help them assess where they are – without artificial inflations.
Ask lots of questions. If we want our children to develop their strengths, they have to learn to find them on their own, because true strengths are things our children love and we can’t force those. Ask your kids what they like – colors, books, games, and after school activities. Not only will the answers to their questions help you learn more about your kids, but when your children are asked these questions it gives them reason to reflect on their own preferences.
Listen to your children. When your kids answer your questions, listen for their passions, but also be in tune to what frustrates them or leaves them feeling less than grand.
Give them a minute to pause. Sometimes one of the things our kids are missing most is time to reflect. They are hurried from one activity to the next, and they don’t always have time to truly consider how they feel about or value a certain activity or situation.
Pay attention. I learn so much from watching my children each day, and parents can sometimes easily see things before our kids are mature enough to understand their significances.
Developing Strengths in Children
My sons love to exercise with their dad – testosterone laden grunts and groans emerge from the basement as they bench press, do pull-ups, and a myriad of other exercises to build muscles – and this is wonderful for strengthening their bodies and their father-son bonds. Building other strengths in our children is just as important, but not as easily done.