Parenting well comes with some challenges. It takes a lot of work and compassion to raise children. As a dad, it is extremely important to be a role model for your kids. It is equally as important to see your children for who THEY are, and nurturing your child’s strengths.
Nurturing Your Child’s Strengths
Despite all that DNA you and your partner have passed down to those sweet offspring, or the love and mentoring you have coddled your adopted kids with, those little guys definitely have their own personalities and inherent tendencies and talents.
We dads may want our kids to follow in our footsteps, but that isn’t always how things turn out. How can we discover what really makes our kids tick and thrive and how do we nurture those things?
It all begins with watching and listening when our children are just toddlers. When your son or daughter grabs your attention by yelling “watch me” he or she is about to show you something they can do well. Sometimes that is as simple as jumping off a step and landing on two feet.
What does this mean? Your child is showing you that he is coordinated, not afraid, and proud. This toddler may not grow up to be an Olympian, but he may eventually be pretty good at sports.
Be Aware of Repetition
Some children do the same things over and over again. This could be both good and bad behavior. For instance, why do kids draw on the walls even when told not to? She may be very visual and likes to draw and may be good at it.
Tape some paper on the walls or hang a presentation board and let her have at it. When she is older, enroll her in an art class. This child might be wildly creative, so nurture that talent.
Noticing repetitive behavior can help you discover your child’s natural talents.
Pay Attention to Smiles
When a child smiles and laughs, he is happy at that moment. Make a mental note of what your child is doing at that particular moment and encourage him to explore further.
Let’s say your little one gets extremely excited while listening to music. This may be a clue that he might have a good ear and a talent for playing an instrument or singing. Once your child is of middle school age, encourage him to try taking up a musical instrument or to join a choir. This is also a great way to expend energy productively.
Try not to be an Overbearing Parent
We all want our kids to be confident with good self-esteem. So many parents push their children in a specific direction. This may be wanting them to take up your interests and even your work ethic. Your child may not do well with certain activities and this could make them feel less-than.
What if you are great with numbers and finances but your daughter isn’t terrific in Math. She can’t just avoid learning math. Allow her to be good enough at math and encourage her to do really well in other subjects. We can’t all get straight As in every subject.
As a homeschooling dad, this practice may be a bit easier to embrace because I get to see first-hand what my kids excel in on a daily basis.
Foster Your Child’s Strengths
Once you have figured out what your kids are good at or naturally drawn to, you can instill confidence by facilitating and allowing them to pursue their interests and dreams.
This is especially important for teenagers. As they begin to think about college and their futures beyond college, they may need a little direction and a lot of patience to allow them to try different things. Experimentation and curiosity are inevitable and can be eye-opening.
What if your teen wants to pursue a career in medicine and you have zero experience in that arena? Perhaps you can help your child find a volunteer position at a clinic, nursing home, or even a veterinary practice. Volunteering is an excellent way for older kids to grow empathically and to work with other like-minded people.
Try not to express disappointment if the experience results in your teen deciding this isn’t the path for her. It is better to figure this out before investing a fortune in an education that doesn’t pan out.
Important Takeaway – Nurturing Your Child’s Strengths
As parents, we need to occasionally check ourselves when it comes to nurturing your child’s strengths. As many times as we say, “don’t do that”, we should equally say, “good job, did you enjoy that”? Positive reinforcement will help our kids become resilient, productive, confident, and happy adults.