How to Focus on Our Kids’ Strengths vs. their Weaknesses

Parenting doesn’t come easy all the time. I get so busy as a parent doing the work that we need to do. Even if we’re not working, like we’re on the weekends, we’re doing chores, we’re doing laundry, and all of a sudden your child does something and we stop. What are we doing? We tell them, “You shouldn’t be doing that. What did I tell you to do? You need to be focusing on your room!” Sound familiar? What happens with you when your child interrupts you and needs your time, and it’s over something negative? I know that for me, that is one of my biggest pet peeves. How did I learn to get over that? How do I teach my clients to get over that? What I realize is that our kids will act up more to get our attention when they don’t know how to get our attention for the things they’re doing right.

How do we love their weaknesses to get them to fulfill their strengths? We are so busy in our lives that we don’t realize that we are spending more time criticizing our kids than trying to guide them to do the right thing. Sometimes we’re commanding, sometimes we’re demanding. I’m just going to be honest; that was me. I used to be like that a lot of years ago with my two boys, who are now adults. I used to command, I used to demand, and I used to ground them. I spent more time looking at all the things they were doing wrong, whether it was with school, their room, or their homework, than I actually spent time praising them. I ask you, how much time are you spending praising your children? Do you even know what your kids strengths are? How are you elevating what your kids strengths are?

My son found out that he loved soccer. What did we do? We immediately went and got goals for him, balls for him, and cones for him. My husband spent so much time after school, on the days that he has between his tutoring and his practices, going out in the front yard and really working with him. His older brothers played soccer, and when they came over, they played with him because it was strengthening his strength. We now spend more time talking about things that they’re doing well than we do about things that they’re not.

While one of the weaknesses my twin has is getting up in the morning, we took our kids to a fire team at UPW with Tony Robbins, and one of the things we say on fire team is we don’t quit when we’re tired; we quit when we’re done. My son wore that statement as a badge of honor because not only did he start with us at seven o’clock in the morning, he didn’t end until four o’clock in the morning, and he was up. He did it. I said, “I’m so proud of you!” He says, “Because we don’t quit when we’re tired, we quit when we’re done.” All of a sudden, I thought to myself, how could I turn his weaknesses into his strengths?
We got home a few days later. He had to get up in the morning to go to school, and we had the same thing flying all over the bed: “I’m tired. I don’t want to get up.” I asked him, “Let me ask you something, fire teamer, do we quit when we’re tired or do we quit when we’re done?” He says we quit when we’re done, and I’m not done, I’m just starting my day.” He jumped out of bed, he got his clothes on, he brushed his teeth, and he came to my room, “I’m ready for my day, mom.” I was so shocked. I wasn’t even fully ready for my day yet, and this kid was ready. Why? I took something that he loved as a strength in him to really bring out the part that I thought was his weakness. Instead of getting mad at him for not getting up or running late, I used something that lit him up. I taught him that was his strength; we celebrated his strength, and we allowed his strength to overtake that weakness to now be his strength of getting up in the morning.

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