Strengths Based Parenting: Developing Your Children’s Innate Talents – Post 2 (by Kim Jansen)

Reading the results of my Clifton Strengths Finder assessment felt like looking in a mirror.

I nodded my head repeatedly as I murmured, “Yes, I do that all the time. And that. Oh, and I am really good at that!” I was impressed by how accurately the report described the way I naturally operate.

The Gallup organization uses the word “talents” to describe these innate ways of thinking, feeling or behaving.  Recognizing God-given talents is not an end in itself, however. According to Dr. Reckmeyer, this recognition leads to discovery of areas where each person has the greatest potential and capacity for success.

Only with further skills, knowledge and practice can a talent eventually develop into a “strength.” Reckmeyer defines a strength as “the ability to consistently provide near-perfect performance” in a certain area.

One of my talents is “Restorative” – which means I like to solve problems. I frequently notice what isn’t working to its fullest potential.

In the past, I’ve viewed this “skill” as a liability in my life, rather than a potential strength. My keen awareness of the deficit in any situation frequently sets me up to overlook what is working. I’m often blind to the gifts and blessings right in front of me. As I shared in my last post, I can turn into “Negative Nelly” rather quickly.

Before learning about parenting from a “strengths-based” perspective, my own talent for solving problems created a sense of discouragement. After all, if one of my primary roles as a parent is to recognize and nurture the innate strengths of my children, aren’t I just doomed to fail?

Not so fast…

The last half of Strengths Based Parenting contains a very helpful and easily accessible glossary with suggestions for how to develop each talent theme into a strength. For each theme, there is one section for parents who themselves possess that theme and another section for those whose child exhibits that particular theme.

Here are a few of the tips I found helpful for my five primary themes:

  • Restorative – “Show your children that problems are a normal part of life and that most can be solved. When you focus on solutions, it helps your children see pathways for dealing with problems.”
  • Analytical – “Help your children make sense of the complexities of life by objectively talking through the pros and cons of various situations and the decisions they need to make.”
  • Consistency – “Create an equitable and efficient family environment. Be sure to give reasons for the rules that are applied to each family member.”
  • Discipline – “Create routines for your children and family that require everyone to follow through. Over time, they will appreciate these expectations and the results they produce.”
  • Harmony – “When your children are arguing, help them find areas of agreement. Finding a common ground may not totally resolve the issue, but it can be a starting point for working together.”

According to the author, strengths-based parenting is a two-step process:

  1. “Know and understand your own talents and how you can best apply them with your children and family.
  2. Discover your children’s talents and help them develop their talents into strengths.

The ideas presented here provided a starting point for turning my talents into strengths for the betterment of myself and my family. In the next post, I will focus on Step 2!

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