Your child has strengths and that’s awesome. But, your child also has weaknesses. Our job is to walk a fine line between focusing on their strengths and focusing on your child’s weaknesses. Too much of either can be a bad thing.
Mothering is a hard job. Not only is it a hard job, it gets progressively harder as the years go by. Being a mother of a 2 year old seems 2 times harder than being the mother of an infant. By the time they’re closing in on the tween years often times we’re certain that the difficulty is getting exponential instead of sequential, especially if you’re juggling multiple children of all different ages.
So as the chaos of life and mothering progresses, it’s easy to settle into
Bob Mom The Builder mode.
“Can we fix it? Yes we can!”
We assess our child and we see this.
So we make a plan to correct the imbalance. It may be intentional or it may be subconscious, but we are guiltily aware of our children’s weaknesses. We worry about them. We focus on them. We lay awake at night trying to think of ways to build up the weak areas of our babies. Why? Because we’re afraid of raising this.
We’re afraid that they’ll have glaring gaps in their education or a detrimental expanse between their weaknesses and their strengths that will hold them back in life. Instead we would love to train this:
We want Renaissance Men! (And women) Few of us want this for vain, self-serving reasons. We simply love our children and we don’t want them to struggle because of their weaknesses. We’re painfully aware of how our own have held us back in life and we hope to rectify that for the next generation. We want the very best for our children.
And there’s nothing wrong with that.
However, we need to be very careful that in doing so we’re not focusing too much on what’s “wrong” with them. Giving too much attention to the weaker side of a child’s personality or giftings can easily damage their self-esteem, upset their sense of self-worth.
If we spend too much time “working on” and verbalizing what they’re bad at, be it math or controlling their anger, we may cause their personality to be built on the very foundation of that weakness. Not only does that not help the problem area, it can quench their strengths as well. It breeds doubt about their talent and goodness.
And we all know it’s easier to believe something negative about ourselves than something positive.
We have to be very careful that while attempting to build up happy and successful children (which is definitely a noble goal) we aren’t exasperating the very problems we’re trying to alleviate.
So perhaps we should focus on our children’s strengths. We’re all born with different gifts, different talents – and often times if we we’re given the support and freedom to pursue those, our weaknesses are fortified along the way, as well.
I stumbled upon this positive news piece from over seas where a grown unschooler and France said something similar.
“A lot of the time you look for your shortcomings – “I’m not good at maths, so I’ll do a lot of maths to reach an average level”. I’d never done that before, my experience was always to find things I was good at and work even harder in those subjects to become better, to become an expert and more specialized.”
So, should we “focus” on their weaknesses, or build up their strengths?