Focussing On The Positivity.

healing ourselves Aug 07, 2022

The twinkles (4-year-olds) were missing their teachers so when the teachers emailed me asking if we were interested in 30-minutes of once-a-week classes, I said sure why not.

The boys were thrilled and looking forward to seeing their teachers but when we started the zoom call, they got a bit overwhelmed and shy. One hid into my armpit and the other under the table.

I told the boys it’s ok if they’re not ready and if they’d like me to turn our video off, they said it’s ok so I let it stay on and they kept participating while hiding their faces.

As this was happening, of course I did what we all do when our kids are not “succeeding” or aka meeting society’s standards... I noticed how the other kids on zoom were NOT hiding in their parents’ bodies or furniture.

And my brain did the oh-so-natural comparison and corollary: what am I doing wrong that my kids are not “succeeding” at this?

And of course, then I did what I always do when I have a negative thought. I talk back to it and I say, “Hmm... I hear you and I’m not going there. All kids are different and respond to situations differently. This is not a failing on my or the boys’ part.”

And as I embraced this positive thought, I suddenly noticed something else.

I noticed that even though some of the other kids weren’t being shy, they were also being very “fidgety”. Their moms kept having to put them back in their chairs or ask them to calm down whereas the twinkles were focusing on the class with all their attention. They might’ve been shy to engage, but they were calmly listening and following the teacher’s leads.

This suddenly made me realize that it’s very natural that we focus on what our kids aren’t doing that others are... versus what they ARE doing that others aren’t. We tend to focus so much on their struggles and very little on their strengths.

I’ll even go one up on that and say we take their strengths for granted.

One thing I’ve noticed when I talk to parents is that they’ll say, “How come only my child does xyz (something negative)?” And then I ask them to reflect on the strengths only their child seems to have and sure enough, they’ll say “Yeah I’ve noticed she’s very interested in books and her cousin won’t come near them! I guess she’s also a better sharer than her cousin...”

So when we start focusing on the strengths... they magically grow and grow.

If you’re wondering, “but shouldn’t we focus on the weakness so we can strengthen them?” I urge you to consider what that really means. I think what it really means is, “my kid needs to be good at everything.” And that’s perfectionism and not healthy or helpful.

Finally, research tells us that we focus on our own and others’ strengths, we bring out the best. That positive focus allows people (and kids) to really really thrive.

So give yourself permission to enjoy your child’s strengths and stop worrying about whatever they’re not great at right now- chances are, their brain isn’t there yet OR their brain is too busy being great at something else 💗

More reading about the research: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-self-improvement-secret-work-on-strengths/