Nurture Your Child’s Inner Strengths

Parenting coach and author, Maggie Stevens tells parents, it’s not what you say, but what you do that matters most.

Identify Inner Strengths:

An inner strength differs from a talent or skill. A talent or skill is something a child develops such as musical skill, athletic ability, or artistic ability. Inner strengths are something your children are born with or something they inherit from their parents. The inner strengths we are talking about are qualities like honesty, compassion, patience, determination, persistence.

When it comes to Inner Strengths, children learn more from our examples than from what we as parents preach. They are constantly monitoring our expressions and moods. Babies come into this world without a sense of self, though that self begins almost immediately to be filled in by parents who become crucial mirrors of their children’s worth…your reflections of him are the first he experiences. To the young child, you are magnified until you take on the appearance of a God.

Now, that’s a lot of pressure for a parent to stop and think about. But it should also give parents a sense of power knowing that you can influence their child for the better. So what actions can parents do to help children with inner strengths?

1. Be an Example

As parents when we try to help our children discover their “inner strengths” the biggest factor is example, specifically a parent’s example. Children learn more from our examples than from what we as parents preach. You can’t expect your child to develop the strength of respect for others if he hears you yelling over the phone at the cable company for over charging you. You can’t get mad at your child for hitting other children at school if you are spanking them at home. Be the best person you can be and your child will emulate those character traits you exemplify.

2. Help your child identify or acknowledge their inner strength.

Pay close attention to your children and notice the strengths they have. Talk to your spouse to find out the strengths they have noticed. Then verbalize to your child when you witness one of their inner strengths. They need to hear how unique they are and how wonderful it is that they have that strength. “It is so nice to spend time with you. You are such a calm, patient person.” Or “I love your drive. That competitive nature will help you when you are playing soccer.”

3. Teach your child how to nurture their inner strength.

We all know that practice makes perfect, so help your child practice using the strengths they have been given. When you notice your child sharing a toy with a friend, Compliment them on doing so. Say something like, “Didn’t that make you feel good inside to share with your friend. Look how happy he is.” Or “Did you notice that warm feeling inside? If makes you feel good all over when you do nice things for another person.

“Children Learn What they Live”

-Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If a child lives with criticism

He learns to condemn.

If a child lives with hostility,

He learns to fight.

If a child lives with ridicule,

He learns to be shy.

If a child lives with shame,

He learns to feel guilty

If a child lives with tolerance,

He learns to be patient

If a child lives with encouragement,

He learns confidence.

If a child lives with praise,

He learns to appreciate

If a child lives with fairness,

He learns justice

If a child lives with security,

He learns to have faith.

If a child lives with approval,

He learns to like himself.

If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,

He learns to find love in the world.

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Parent Fix by Maggie Stevens

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