Knowing our character strengths helps us focus on making the best of who we are. It can also help us face challenges with confidence and emerge happier, more self-aware and more resilient.
Character strengths are like muscles in our bodies; some are stronger and more developed, others, not so much. Learning about each of these muscles can help you grow into a stronger you. Knowing how and when to flex these strengths is important. When you are aware of how to use these muscles every day, you will be more in touch with yourself and others.
The 24 character strengths are the appreciation of beauty and excellence, bravery, creativity, curiosity, fairness, forgiveness, gratitude, hope, honesty, humility, humor, judgment, kindness, leadership, love, love of learning, perseverance, perspective, prudence, self-regulation, social intelligence, spirituality, teamwork and zest.
What does creativity mean as a character strength, you might ask?
It means your child sees and does things in non-conventional ways. Instead of following the instruction book to build a Lego car, they choose to be creative and not follow the instruction book. Thinking outside of the box is a way of flexing their strength of creativity.
To strengthen creativity, encourage your child to be creative before taking on a thinking task or problem-solving activity. You can help your children develop divergent thinking, which means to generate multiple alternative solutions instead of searching for one correct solution. Brainstorm a list of ideas and potential solutions to any daily life problem.
What about bravery?
A child with the character strength of bravery does not shrink from challenges. They speak up for what they believe is right and act on convictions even if it makes them unpopular. They have the strength to face fears and confront adversity.
For bravery, focus on the outcome of courageous acts. Think of the person being helped, pointing out the goodness of the action and encourage your child to spot when they or others are courageous.
Strength spotting in our children is the first step to strength-based parenting, and strength building is the next step. One way to flex the character strength muscle of curiosity is to encourage your child to continue to explore the world by visiting museums, watching historical documentaries, reading science fiction and other books.
Children are gifted with infinite potential, and it is your role as a strength-based parent to empower them to make the best out of their character strengths so they can become the best of who they are.
I will continue to share how strength-based parents can practice strength building with their children; how to flex the strengths of gratitude and hope; and how to encourage our children to flex the strengths of fairness and kindness.
Interested in Positive Parenting? Contact Sandy Sinn by WeChat at Sandyparentcoach.