> Skip to content

Article  •  30 May 2017

 

Accentuate the positive

Lea Waters’ tips on talking about your child’s weaknesses.

In her book The Strength Switch, psychologist Lea Waters demonstrates how to discover your children’s strengths and talents, use positive emotions as a resource, build strong brains, and even how to deal with problem behaviour and talk about difficult situations and emotions. No child wants to be made feel mediocre, so it’s important to help them draw on their strengths, and identify and talk openly about their weaknesses. Here she offers three tips for parents looking to reinforce that none of us are perfect, and that our shortcomings are rendered inconsequential when focusing on the positives.

I define weakness similarly to what you’ll find in the dictionary or after a quick Google search. Weaknesses are features regarded as disadvantages or flaws – specifically, a flaw that prevents us from being effective. We can be weak in certain skills, abilities, talents, and aspects of our personality/ character.

We all have weaknesses, and it’s important to be real with our kids about that. Strength-based parenting doesn’t mean you ignore your child’s weaknesses; it allows you to approach them from a new perspective. In fact, it supports more genuine, less defensive conversations with your child about their weaknesses, because your child knows that your focus is, first and foremost, on her strengths.

There are three important messages to give to your child about weakness:

1. Just as everyone has strengths, everyone has weaknesses.
2. Having weaknesses doesn’t mean you’re unworthy; it just means you’re normal.
3. Avoid the trap of spending too much time focusing on your weaknesses.

In my workshops, I ask parents to write their child’s name with their dominant hand. I talk about how each of us has a dominant hand. For me, it’s my right hand. I didn’t choose that. We’re just born with our brain wired in a way that makes one hand easier to use than the other. We build on that propensity and further develop that neural network. We write with ease. Then I say, ‘OK. Swap hands.’ It takes them much longer to write their child’s name with their nondominant hand. It’s messy, even illegible. It’s tiring and somewhat frustrating. When you constantly focus on getting your child to fix her weaknesses, it’s like you’re always asking her to use her nondominant hand. Her performance, energy, and use won’t be nearly as high as when she works from her strengths.


The Strength Switch Lea Waters

Unlock your children’s potential by helping them build their strengths.

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
Article
Elements of strength

Lea Waters offers some signposts to identifying your children’s strengths.

Article
4 reasons why Atlas of The Heart is taking the world by storm

Everything you need to know about the book, the audiobook, and the TV series.

Article
8 steps to becoming a racial influencer

How to apply the rules of social media influencing to effect change in the arenas of race, human rights, equality and inclusion.

Article
11 fun facts about Gild by Raven Kennedy

Everything you need to know about TikTok’s most hyped fantasy series.

Article
Did you know? Bill Gates reads 50 books a year

Bill Gates, the billionaire founder of Microsoft, credits his hefty reading list for his success.

Article
The Glucose Goddess’ number one trick for dessert without the sugar crash

If you love dessert but hate the sugar crash that follows, this trick is for you. Jessie Inchauspé – AKA The Glucose Goddess – shares her top tip for enjoying sweets, so you can have your cake and eat it too!

Article
Tap into your inner knowing with this super easy exercise

Have a big decision to make? Don’t know which direction to go in your life? Now might be the perfect opportunity to tap in to your inner knowing.

Article
Lynette Noni shares sage advice for developing lifelike characters

Lynette Noni, bestselling author of YA fantasy The Prison Healer trilogy shares how she creates unforgettable characters that feel like real people.

Article
Shirley Marr shares experience as child that inspired new book

‘That memory will stay with me for a long time, it was really touching and something I will always remember.’

Article
Why the Australian outback makes a perfect setting for crime novels

An intro to the bourgeoning genre of outback noir.

Article
We’re giving away a one-of-a-kind Penguin bookcase

... and more (including $1000 cash and $500 worth of books)!

Article

Looking for more articles?

See all articles