I’m tired, and distracted by all the thoughts of what I have to get done today. My stress level is running high. I know I’m on the edge of my nerves.
Then my children come home from school. They run through the door leaving it wide open. All the books, backpacks, musical instruments and jackets are strewn around the kitchen table and on to the floor.
My concentration is broken by all the questions they ask me. All I can think is that I have to get my project done today. “Can’t you just leave me alone,” I exclaim. “Just give me ten more minutes.”
I know myself and what triggers me.
I know I need quiet to concentrate on what I need to get done. My strengths fall into that category of strategic thinking which is one of my strong points, but I need time alone to develop my thoughts and ideas. Knowing this helps me to better deal with my children’s behavior and responding to them with what I need.
Strengths are talents and a lens through which we see the world.
When you know your strengths you have a better understanding of yourself and your triggers.
An important predictor of a child’s well-being is the self-awareness of the parent.
In the example above I was able to ask my children to leave me alone for 10 minutes to give me time to complete what I needed to get done that day. Once I was finished, they had my full attention, and I listened to them tell me all about their day.
Here are three surprising ways that by knowing your strengths as a parent you can influence your teen’s wellbeing.
Parent having a positive self-perception
Knowing your strengths as a parent can help your child develop his or her own strengths.
Our children are mirrors for us.
A few years ago I was struggling with finding my purpose in life. I didn’t know what I should be doing or what direction I wanted to go with my skills and talents. I remember writing in my journal about my struggles. Later in the day my daughter who was 12 at the time was talking about her own struggles at school and with friends. She was sitting on the kitchen stool crying to me “What is my purpose here on earth?” It hit me that even though I had not said those words to her, she was mirroring my feelings and thoughts.
I have recognized that my positive self-perception has a huge impact on my teens and their perceptions of themselves. A parent that can develop his or her own strengths and talents can help the children see their strengths.
Strengths are not the opposite of weaknesses
Deficit thinking not only hurts us, it hurts our teens.
We are all well aware of our shortcomings and very unaware of our assets. The same goes for teens.
We can work hard on building up our weaknesses and move just a short way up the scale. Or we can spend the same amount of time building on our strengths and move up the scale in a huge way. Just like our strengths are innate (you’re born with them), so are your weaknesses. What would you rather have, a weakness you worked hours on developing that became mediocre or a talent you worked hours in developing that became extraordinary?
Manage your weaknesses so they don’t get in the way of your goals, but don’t spend the majority of your time on them. If your teen is struggling in a in some area, don’t force him to work on it in hopes that he will succeed. Help him to practice a new habit enough to get by, and spend the rest of the time on developing the talents in which he will go far with in his life.
Develop your future self
Remember back in high school when you were trying to figure out who you were? Did some of the subjects come really easily for you? Or maybe there was just that one class you wished you could spend your whole day in? Perhaps school just wasn’t your thing, but you could spend hours and hours after school working on a particular project at home.
You were developing your future self through the work you enjoyed and had a passion to complete. You are still developing your future self.
The same can go for your teen. What your teen is interested in can be a window into her future. Many teens can spend time deep into one or more interests. To some parents spending that time may seem like a waste. But it’s not. Help your children expand in areas of their interests and talents so that they may see their future self.
As a parent, the best way you can help your child is to explore your own talents and interests.
Do this exploring daily. Use curiosity as your guide when looking at your teen’s talents.
There are ways to parent your teen with less stress and more happiness. As you develop as a parent, you can help your children develop as individuals too.
As a parent it is extremely difficult to change your teen’s talents and make them someone they naturally aren’t.
So make it easier for yourself and your teen! Celebrate who they are and who you are as unique individuals!