There are many behaviors we can discuss, but we’re going to do it a little differently.
Take your notebook or piece of paper and list 3 behavioral strengths your child has – if you have more than one child, you’ll do this for each child.
Now list 3 areas that you’d like to see changed.
Which behaviors are more important? Where should your focus be?
My oldest daughter’s strengths are:
1. her creativity, story and song writing
2. the generous nature she keeps hidden
3. her kindness to little children and their parents
My daughter’s weaknesses are also her strengths. Confusing, I know.
1. her intelligence leads her to believe she’s superior to others
2. her attitude and backtalking
3. her creativity interrupts her day-to-day activities (or her day-to-day activities interrupt her creativity!)
So should I focus on her strengths or her weaknesses? Both. By encouraging her creativity, her generosity and her kindness, I encourage her to be faithful to who she is and who she wants to be when she’s older. By reminding her of her generosity and stressing its importance, encouraging her to be generous and kind, I also help to remind her that she is not superior nor inferior. She simply IS. When I allow her to backtalk and treat me as though she’s my superior, I’m giving in to one of her strengths becoming her weakness. And I’m allowing her to believe that I’m inferior to her on an intellectual scale. And I know that asking her to carry through on the day-to-day activities frustrates her and leads her to snap at me. These are still activities that need to be done. She still needs to eat, bathe, sleep, and even do her chores. These are MUSTS. These are non-negotiable, which have to be done every day. School is on that list 5 days a week and cuts into her time for creating and writing, another frustration she faces. We’re still working on how to encourage completion of these musts with positive results.
Personally, I find that setting a time limit encourages completion of a task. She enjoys taking a shower, so instead of forcing her into a bath we compromise. Most of the food in our house is healthy, fresh fruits, some fresh vegetables, so as long as she’s eating these items and will eat her dinner, I don’t force her to eat throughout the day – she knows when she’s hungry. She knows that bedtime is 830, so she has to have everything done by then, including her shower. Some nights she can’t sleep, so I’ll watch some fantasy with her and let her work or I’ll listen as she tosses around ideas. I keep the lights dim (low, dark in the room/house), turn down the volume on the t.v. and she enjoys a cup of hot tea. This nighttime routine is a time for us to connect. It doesn’t happen every night as some nights she’s desperately tired from a long day at school, or I’m too tired to keep the t.v. on late.
These are just some ways to address behaviors that are seen as strengths and weaknesses. Write down your child(ren)’s strengths, the positive things about them. Do you enjoy those attributes? What are ways you can encourage these good behaviors?
Write down what you see as your child(ren)’s weakness – issues you’d like to address. Do they bother you because they remind you of you? Be honest here. If they bother you because they remind you of you, how do you handle these in your own self/life? What works for you? Are these tricks that you can pass on to your children? What are some ways you can encourage the positive behaviors instead of enforcing the negative?