How To Identify Your Child’s Strengths

You can encourage their development in lasting ways.
By Mitchell Qualls
September 15, 2020

The crack of the bat. The cheers. The applause. My son just hit the ball over the head of the second baseman to collect his first hit of the game. This isn’t the proudest moment of the game for me, though. My proudest moment came an inning earlier when he struck out for the second time of the night – as I watched him walk back to the dugout with his head held high… no pouting. He put his bat and helmet up and cheered for the next player up to bat.

When we think about the strengths of our children, we often think about what they’re good at, like math, reading, sports, spelling, writing… the list goes on. These strengths are good and deserve recognition, but what about the strengths of character? As parents, we can help our children recognize character strengths just like we do physical or mental strengths.

Lea Waters, Ph.D. says, “Strengths are things we do well, often, and with energy.” 

Here are some clues you can use to identify your child’s strengths:

  • There’s a Drive or Yearning. Your child will have a desire to use their strengths. They will look for ways to express it.
  • Your Child Naturally Displays It. Observe what they naturally do or say. My son loves to read and write. He loves history and he will find videos to learn about a specific subject and then write his own book about what he learned. This is a natural curiosity; he’s always asking questions. He’s used this strength to help his classmates who may be struggling with schoolwork. My daughter (age 4) loves to draw. It’s how she shows her creativity. There are pictures taped all over our house of her drawings. She uses this to draw pictures for her friends and family. This is a way she shows love and care for others. Often, it’s a form of encouragement to others.
  • Your Child Loses Track of Time When Engaged in It. It’s hard for children to focus on one task for too long. So when they do, pay attention to what it is. When they lose track of time engaging in an activity, they are doing something that energizes them and brings joy and fulfillment.
  • It Can Be Put to Positive Use. As we help our child discover their strengths, let’s look for ways for them to positively impact others. You can hear more about these clues from Lea Waters here.

You don’t have to respond to each strength you discover, but you can take steps to encourage them to develop some further.

Remember, just because your kid is good at something doesn’t mean they enjoy it. As we help our child identify and develop these strengths, we can help him or her understand the character traits that accompany them. 

You have the opportunity to help your son or daughter discover what makes them unique and how they can utilize who they are to make a positive impact on the people around them. You get to walk this path with them, encourage them, and strengthen your relationship through this process of self-discovery. I, as a parent, am the most influential teacher my child will have. I have the privilege of pouring into and encouraging their development. You do too!! Use this strength development journey as a way to grow your relationship with your child.

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