Being a parent is as beautiful as it is complex. After all, you’re raising a whole new person. And every person is different, which means there is no set of rules that will tell you exactly how to be a good parent and give your child all the best. However, by relying on previous experiences and research, you can learn how to create an environment in which your children will thrive. We’re talking about the kind of environment that helps them develop into independent, successful, and happy people.
A lot of positive things have been said about strength-based parenting, which supports your children’s ability for self-development. Let’s see what that is, how to apply it, and how it can benefit your kids.
What Is Strength-Based Parenting?
This is a parenting approach that focuses on supporting and nurturing children’s character strengths. It is based on identifying positive qualities and talents that already exist in children and then supporting them and building upon them.
While it might sound like something natural, most parents tend to instill some qualities in their kids without first identifying the ones that are already part of their character. But doing the latter might make your job much easier and your children much happier. Parents often focus on weaknesses in children in an effort to help them improve, but that can lead to low self-esteem and various insecurities.
The Benefits of Focusing on a Child’s Strengths
This approach to parenting is beneficial for kids because you will give them emotional support and understanding as well as help them find and build certain beneficial qualities. Furthermore, this kind of approach makes it easier to raise kids in the complexities of the 21st century – because, let’s face it, the world we live in seems designed to bring people down for some reason, whether it is their skill, behavior, or IQ. When you appreciate and nurture the character strengths of your kids, you are giving them tools to be happy, satisfied, and accomplished.
As a parent, you will know your children’s strengths if you listen to them, communicate with them, and observe their development. But you should base your findings on more than just intuition. There are various questionnaires and tests designed for this. There’s the cognitive abilities test, which is an assessment of reasoning skills. There are also emotional intelligence tests that can be very useful. Various surveys focus exclusively on character strengths, and some of them are kid-friendly. The list goes on.
The identified strengths become the pathway for kids to become the best versions of themselves. Remember, they need your support on this path.
How to Practice Strength-Based Parenting in Reality
Now that we have the theory mastered, let’s move on to the practice of strength-based parenting. Here are some specific steps you can take:
- Identify the strengths. If you observe your child, you’ll see some specific characteristics that stand out. For example, that can be kindness or willingness to share things. You can point this out as their strength and explain to them why that is important and beautiful.
- Foster the strength. When you identify a specific quality in your child, nurture it. For example, if you’ve noticed your kid has a knack for helping those less fortunate, include them in some charitable activities. If they’re quite eager about sports, support that and include them in a local sports team.
- Give them things to work with. You’ve probably already noticed that the most important thing about strength-based parenting is identifying the strength. Once you’ve done that, you’ll want to equip your child with the knowledge, skills, and tools to improve on their interests. For some things, such as arts, you will need to acquire physical tools (e.g., paintbrushes), while for some others, you will need to invest in training, books, or something similar.
- Practice. A child’s strengths are genetic, inherited, or learned along the way, but you still need to work on developing them. So, make sure your child has enough opportunities to become better at some things they are naturally inclined toward.
- Be the role model or find the role model. Parents are often role models for their kids, especially with inherited strengths. With that in mind, do your best to follow your passions and make sure your kids see that. If their interests lie in another field, together you can find a role model to look up to so they can connect with them.
Although parenting is challenging and complex in many ways, the essence of it is simple: your love, support, and steady guidance will help you raise a happy, accomplished kid. By focusing on your child’s strengths rather than weaknesses, you’ll help them maximize the skills and abilities that come naturally to them. And that, in turn, will allow them to grow into confident adults that are ready to use their talents and strengths to make the world a better place.
About the Author
Hannah Thomas is a gardening and environmental enthusiast. Her garden is the place where she feels most comfortable, that’s why there are always a lot of books and empty coffee cups on the back porch.