How to Talk To Your Child About His/Her Strengths And Weaknesses

It is important to talk to all children about their weaknesses and while doing so, it is a great time to remind them of their strengths.

 

Every child is special, with unique combinations of abilities and needs that affect learning. However, they all deserve the opportunity to learn in ways that make the most of their strengths and help them overcome their weaknesses.

 

Talk to your child in a way that matches his age.  Young children may not be able to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses like an adult, but they do notice how they compare to other children their age.

Try starting a conversation with an observation: “Sometimes it seems like it is hard for you to read aloud. I am sure you see children in school who can do it pretty easily.  This opens the door for him to talk and perhaps confirm your observation and you can use this chance to speak about what he is good at.
 

As children grow, they are more able to consider their own strengths and weaknesses, but they are often less willing to open up. It helps to be specific with them: “I know you struggled with organization on that project. The art looked great. Did the writing part end up being what you wanted?” Then let him take the conversation where he wants.

 

Having trouble with one activity might be deflating for your child. For example, he may have trouble reading aloud and decide he hates reading altogether. Remind him that reading aloud is only one part of enjoying the written word. If he loves to be read to and has great insights, tell him so. Ask questions that allow him to see that he has things to contribute even in situations that are hard for him. In this way, you are helping him to see the bigger picture.

 

Encourage your child to deal with things that might seem tough to them and do not let them shy away from difficult tasks. They need to talk about what they are good at, but they also need to talk about what they are not so good at. Talk with your child about what he struggles with in an understanding manner.  Instead of saying something like,“you can’t do this” try saying something like, “I know this is hard for you”.  Let him lead the conversation as much as possible. You may know what his issues are, but only he can tell you how they make him feel and their effect on his daily life.

 

Your child needs to know that his weaknesses aren’t going to hold him back in every aspect of his life.  Help him to understand that he might be able to do one thing, but his ability to do something else is as important and will move him forward.  For example, his ability to make friends wherever he goes may not help him in English class. But it may make it easier for him to get a job when the time comes.

 

Most families have things that everybody knows and makes fun of in a good-natured way. Maybe mum can never remember the names of your friends or granny wig is always untidy.  Talking about those family traits is a great way to start conversations about strengths and weaknesses.

 

Listen as your child talks, then follow up when he says something that stands out. For example, if your child mentions that another kid got detention, engage him in conversation about it so that you encourage room for him to open up a conversation about the types of things other kids find challenging.  Never ask questions that you can get a one word response as that is what you might get and you will close the chance for a conversation.

 

Your child isn’t always going to want to talk about how things are going. That’s OK. But let him know that sometimes you need to say what’s worrying you or what’s making you proud—without it becoming a conversation. Make sure he knows that he can do the same if there are times when he just needs you to listen.

 

One of the best things a parent can do for a child, is to encourage him or her to find their passion.  Many times the child may not know what he is good at or he might be afraid of trying.  You might need to explore a number of areas with him to find his passion or talent, but once he finds his own passion you should encourage it and help him to develop that passion as this can be very beneficial to him in the future.

© 2011 Barbados Children Directory

 

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