How To Identify Your Strengths As A Parent & What To Do With The Info
Know your strengths: This is a lesson that's often given as career advice, but this is a message we reinforce to every parent as well. We cannot grow in an area we do not know. First, we have to know what a strength is or looks like in our life.
What are your strengths?
Consider these descriptions when you think about yourself:
- Strengths are positive qualities that energize us and that we perform well and choose often.
- Strengths are qualities used in productive ways to contribute to our goals and development.
- Strengths are built over time through our innate abilities and dedicated efforts.
- Strengths are qualities recognized by others as praise-worthy, and they contribute positively to the lives of others.
- Strengths are the things you do that make you feel strong.
The first four items on that list are the definitions we used to create our assessment and list of strengths. The fifth one is a great way to gauge whether something you are doing is being done through a strength. You'll find that helpful along your journey.
Now we move forward to get more personal and specific. No one can tell you what makes you feel strong; only you can do that for yourself. That's why we have created five clues to signal which aspects of your parenting are your strengths.
As you read through these Five E's and respond to the evaluation questions, consider which parenting activities personally match up with each one. As you read or finish the article, make a list for yourself of the parenting activities you are currently doing that match up to all five.
You will look forward to certain parenting activities or tasks more than others and find yourself drawn to them. These are areas of enthusiasm. They are marked by a longing or yearning to return to them.
- When you think about your parenting over the past month, which activities or actions were you eager to do?
- If time was not a factor, what would you spend the most time doing with your kids?
When something is easy for us, it seems to come to us naturally. It is as if the steps required for the activity or task disappear, and we flow through it without giving it much thought or worry. We are able to glide without turbulence.
- In the last week, when did you feel like parenting was easy for you? What were you doing?
- Can you think of a time when you felt like you were "flowing" as a parent?
Notice which areas of parenting you do with standout ability. These are likely those that have received third-party validation. A parent or teacher or neighbor may have pointed them out as your strengths and abilities.
- When was the last time someone made a positive comment about your parenting?
- Can you recall other times you have been validated for something you do as a parent?
- What would you consider to be your standout abilities as a parent?
There are some things we do as parents that take energy from us and some that give energy to us. A true strength always makes us feel strong instead of exhausted or depleted.
- What recently completed parenting task left you energized?
- What activities bring you the greatest satisfaction as a parent?
- Can you recall a time when you were especially energized after a day of parenting? What did you do that day?
When the going gets tough, our strengths keep us going. Grit is vital for successful parenting. When we enjoy something we do in our parenting role, we will press past opposition, pain, or distraction, what were you doing?
- What do you enjoy doing so much as a parent that you will keep doing it even when you are sick, tired, or running up against challenges?
- When you last felt fueled by pleasure while parenting, what were you doing?
- What other parenting activities bring you joy?
We hope this book will inspire you to watch for the Five E's and engage the strengths they illuminate in your life and within your role as a parent. Start with a simple understanding of how you would answer the question "What makes you feel strong?"
Adapted from Incredible Parent by Brandon and Analyn Miller. Reprinted by permission from the authors.
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Brandon and Analyn Miller are successful business owners and the parents of seven children. They are passionate about seeing families engage in a strengths-based parenting approach that unearths the uniqueness in every child and empowers positive parent-child relationships through every stage of life. Brandon is a Certified Strengths Coach through the Gallup Organization and the CEO of 34 Strong, a coaching and consulting firm dedicated to improving employee engagement. Analyn owns and operates the Analyn Miller Group, part of Keller Williams Realty. They are co-authors of the new book Incredible Parent and Play to Their Strengths.