Over this last year, I have listened to SO many podcasts about parenting. I find it encouraging, supportive and informative. I find it to be a lot of reminders about subjects that I need to be reminded about. One fact that was discussed in a podcast is that our kids are all very different from who we are.
My husband Seth doesn’t like when I say, “I didn’t do that as a kid.” He doesn’t like when I say, “I don’t understand? I would never do that!” It makes him feel like I think I am better or superior to our children. That is not how I feel at all. What I have discovered is that I am just trying to figure out my kids. They are all very different from me. They are all very different from each other. Each child is so unique and has their own strengths and challenges. When I say that I never would have done something as a child, I am saying that I just don’t understand. I need to seek to understand my children.
I have changed my perspective in regards to the discovery of my children. I used to find it perplexing and confusing. Now I look at it like a fun discovery to learn about all three of my children. What makes them tick? What makes them happy? Brandon tells us to go from a place of frustration to fascination in our parenting.
I’m very excited to interview Brandon Miller tonight. His books are Play to their Strengths and Incredible Parent. He is a CEO who uses his strength based approach at work and at home. I can’t believe he has 7 kids! Kudos to him and his wife because 3 keep me super busy. I can’t wait to talk to him about finding your children’s strengths with the 5 E’s. This doesn’t just apply to children. We can pay attention to this to everyone in our lives including ourselves.
The 5 E’s:
Enthusiasm – What creates enthusiasm in our children? Where do we see the spark and the shining eyes? It couldn’t be more clear when I saw my daughter Ella on the stage for the first time. Her whole face lights up when she gets on that stage!
Easy – What comes easy to our children? What is natural for them. The computer comes very natural for my son Max. He seems to have a head for it and excels and figures things out easily.
Excellence – What are our children excellent at? Take notice. What are they really good at? What do people say about your child? I have gotten many compliments about my daughter Lillie’s beautiful voice. I love when she sings, and other people take notice too.
Energy – What do they have extra energy for? I could read for hours and hours because I love it so much. When I do an interview for my podcast, I can see my whole face light up. It brings me so much energy every time I do one. I could be feeling very tired, but when I press record for a podcast I can feel the new energy surge through me.
Enjoyment – What do your children really enjoy doing? I tend to find Max on the computer, Ella acting and Lillie dancing. Max has started to enjoy researching investments. He finds it fascinating. Lillie could dance all day. Give Ella a script and she will act with you all day long. What do you catch your children doing?
I love the 5 E’s that Brandon talks about. It is such a fantastic way to find your children’s strengths and discover who they are. Brandon says to ask your kids, “What makes you feel strong?” I used to get sad at every birthday. My babies are all growing up so fast. Now I find it exciting. As Lillie’s 9th birthday approaches, I find myself excited for what’s ahead for her. We finally let her try cheerleading and she is loving it. Ella will turn 13 and have her Bat Mitzvah. What could be more exciting? Max is going into his first year of high school. I couldn’t be more excited for him. He is so happy to be done with middle school and I am happy for him. I hope he soars in high school and really enjoys it. I hope he doesn’t soar too quickly through these next four years. Time can slow down a little bit.
As we discover their strengths, we can help them to develop it. We have discovered Max’s love for the computer so we will foster that strength for him and help him grow in this field. Lillie may not like math, but she loves to sing. Can we use a strength and pull from it and apply it to an area where she may be struggling? Can we sing math facts to help her learn them? If Ella’s passion is for the theater, how do we bring that into her Bat Mitzvah? Pull from your children’s strengths and use them in areas where they may struggle.
Brandon Miller tells us strength based parenting tips:
Discovery mode – Find out who your child truly is: how fun!
Let your children evolve – state of flow/energy.
Play to their strengths – engage in places that increase their energy.
Focus on the positive – our disposition towards them.
These are all important points, but I want to touch on the last one. Our children can read us like a book, and we greatly affect their view of themselves. When I am annoyed with Lillie, she knows it and her behavior goes downhill. When I am happy with her or impressed with something she lights up like a star. She will do anything to get a big smile on my face. We can use our powers for good or bad. Do we want our children’s behavior to go North or South?
I love when I hear parents letting their children try new things. As they try piano, singing, acting, Girl Scouts, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, coding, etc., we will help them figure themselves out. Lillie quickly learned that she doesn’t like sports that involve a ball and physical contact. She doesn’t want to be pushed on the soccer field. Max quickly discovered that he didn’t have tolerance to sit through band class. Ella learned that Girl Scouts is not for her. As they discover passions, we can encourage and guide them in that direction.
Help your children discover who they truly are and what makes them tick. It’s an adventure in parenting! We are their tour guides as we encourage and inspire them to be their best selves. Every child is different. Every child has different strengths. Focus and use their strengths and watch them blossom into exactly who they are meant to be.
Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene, LCSW-R
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