Forget Weaknesses, Focus on Strengths

No one wants to admit to their weaknesses. How can a parent deal with their child’s weaknesses and grow their strengths?

Parents focus most, if not all, their energy on fixing weaknesses rather than cultivating the strengths of their children to grow. Children are taught from a young age to spend an unnecessary amount of time buried in their weaknesses.

In contrast to conventional wisdom—we cannot turn weaknesses into strengths.

Why? Because our focus should not be on identifying a child’s weaknesses so we can fix them; it should be on identifying the strengths to give them an advantage. It is a hard concept to grasp, as we have been taught to believe that weaknesses hinder our growth. Strengths are perceived as positive attributes that we inherently have. We believe our strengths can take care of themselves.

The truth is no matter how hard you try to fix your weaknesses, the best you may achieve is mediocrity. There are things we are naturally great at and things we are not.

The approach a strengths-based parent would take is to help their children manage their weaknesses instead of fixing them. If your child has horrible handwriting, have them practice until it is legible and move on. If your child struggles with reading, find ways to help, but let them read things that interest them.

If one of your child’s strength is in communication, encourage and support them to take debate or drama classes. Strength-based parents recognize and encourage their children to spend time becoming great at what they are good at instead of trying to be average at what they are not good at. Just because a child is not good at spelling, it does not mean they cannot be a writer. It takes creativity.

Parents, teachers and schools put an unfair amount of time in children’s weaknesses— pushing them to be well-rounded and ‘good’ at everything. As a result, children are forced to do what they do not like and told what their talents and interests are. Our goal as parents and educators is to nurture our children so they can find what makes them happy and successful.

My daughter was diagnosed with delayed speech at 3 years old. At one of the parent-teacher conferences, I was told by her kindergarten teacher that my daughter would not be able to go to university (vocational college at best), because she did not know the alphabet like her peers.  My daughter was 5 years old then.

I knew that focusing on my daughter’s weaknesses would not get her far. Instead I explored her strengths and helped her to utilize them to deal with her weaknesses.

Fast forward to 2020, my daughter is now 27 years old and she is currently doing her law degree in London after earning her first degree in philosophy and English literature two years ago.

Interested in Positive Parenting? Contact Sandy Sinn by WeChat at Sandyparentcoach.