To every negative there is a positive – is that a scientific principle? I have no idea but I do know that when I look at my children it is true. Often we focus on our children’s ‘growth areas’ (the negatives) because those things irritate us or to be charitable, we see those as the areas we need to work on, to help our child. But if we applied the 80-20 principle to our parenting things would look different – 80% encouragement and 20% correction. Imagine what would happen if we focused 80% of our training on the strengths we see in our children and 20% of our time on the growth areas.
How do you see your child?
The Bible says “you are fearfully and wonderfully made” God knew every part of our body, and our personality or temperament before we were born! Awesome! The Bible also says, “Each one of us has been given gifts according to His grace.” We are not just sinners with issues in our life that we need to change, we are also created in His image – we have gifts and strengths to use in our lives – as do our children. When you look at your child what do you see?
–Do you see being prone to tears as a weakness or do you see it as a sign of sensitivity and compassion?
–Do you see constant talking as a weakness (or irritation!!) or do you see it as a gift of communication
–Do you see a lack of specific goals as a weakness or do you see it as a blessing to be able to go with the flow and be flexible?
–Do you see demanding, nagging behaviour as a weakness or do you see persistence and determination?
I am in no way excusing the weaknesses but if we could get a glimpse of how those weaknesses in our children that frustrate us could be turned around and seen as strengths, it will be a powerful thing in our family life. It is about the potential we see in our children – do we give them the hope that they can be great or is our constant picking on them giving them the idea that they will never make it.
Flip the Negative and Positive Around
We need to flip our thinking around – instead of looking for the bad in our children look for the strengths and help them tame and direct those strengths to be a powerful thing in their life. My dad says, “any strength overused becomes a potential weakness” and I think this is a useful thought for us mums to remember when we are overwhelmed at our children’s weaknesses. It goes both ways. A strength can have an aspect of weakness and a weakness can have an aspect of strength. When we flip our thinking it helps us pause and consider, maybe I am dealing with a strength here, maybe this is the thing that will help my child be a success.
Let’s look at some of this flip thinking:
–Diplomacy is a strength, but when overused it becomes wishy-washy, as if there are no convictions.
–The ability to lead is a strength but when overused it looks bossy, domineering and controlling.
–Being able to communicate is a strength but when overused it looks like a chatterbox who never listens.
–Being diligent to complete the task to a high standard is a strength but when overused it looks like perfectionism and leads to depression.
–Being happily reconciled to life is a strength but overused looks like the child is unmotivated and blasé.
–Great enthusiasm and organisational skills are a strength but overused the child can look bossy, opinionated and self-sufficient.
–Creativity is a strength but when overused a child can’t follow the rules.
–Making friends is a strength but when overused a child finds themselves friends with everyone but only shallow relationships.
–An eye for detail is a strength and yet overused it can lead to being task orientated rather than people orientated.
When these positives are overused in our children’s lives we just see the negatives. When we try and stamp out the negatives we actually reduce the effectiveness of our child’s life. God made these strengths. We need to take a step back from the hustle and bustle in our family life and look at each of our children.
Quick Parenting Check:
Ask yourself: What are my child’s weaknesses – and what are the associated strengths?
Have I been squashing their weaknesses – and not training these strengths?
How can I harness these potential strengths and prepare my child to be all that God designed?
Once we start looking at our child’s behavior with a slightly different slant we need to look at how we are parenting that child. We can replace nagging with training. We can coach and praise as our children start to grow in areas where we were previously overwhelmed.
Being an intentional heart focused parenting takes time. It means we have to really look at the choices we are making as a parent, it means we need to have a close look at the uniqueness of our child and we need to spend time considering their heart: what they believe, their character, their choices, their emotions. Intentional parenting isn’t about deciding what will be and following the rules – intentional heart focus parenting is about considering the chidl’s needs and helping them grow and mature in a way that enables them to be all that God has created for them to be.
We will get it wrong – we will miss things and sometimes the keys we see we will still stuff up! That is okay. Intentional parenting is about constantly checking, reviewing, and planning how to move on from where we are today.
My hope today is that instead of being overwhelmed with the negative you see in your child, you will start to see a potential strength that just needs a little work.
The Only Thing to do When You don’t know What to do: Who do you turn to when you don’t know what to do? God? Friends? Internet.
When your Kids Struggle with Things You Find Easy: 7 tips to help us when our kids struggle with the things that we find easy. We must find a way to be accepting and encouraging.
5 Ways for Parents to Speak Life to their Kids: Throughout the day we have 5 different opportunities to speak words of life – words that instil hope, courage, trust and a sense of belonging.