As parents, we embark on a lifelong journey of understanding, nurturing, and supporting our children. Along the way, we encounter moments that puzzle us, behaviors that concern us, and achievements that fill us with pride. With the unending desire to unlock their true potential, summer becomes a season of boundless possibilities, where we embrace the freedom to explore, create lasting memories, and witness our children's growth in ways that surprise us.
Today, let's delve further into unlocking the fun of summer by focusing on the "U" in FUN: Uncover to Understand.
On this journey, I invite you to become neutral observers and curious detectives, seeking to unravel your child's strengths and better understand their challenges. Sometimes, the most incredible truths about our kids lie just beneath the surface, waiting to be discovered.
The Neutral Observer (Find Their Strengths)
As Neutral Observers, our role during this summer season is to embrace the small moments and gain insights into our little ones. Let's leave behind preconceived notions and biases, stepping into the observer's shoes. Our task is simple: watch, observe, and resist the urge to jump to conclusions or impose our preferences.
Uncovering visible strengths:
Take note of the activities that bring them joy and ignite a spark in their eyes.
Observe what can keep them engaged for hours on end.
Recognize the activities that come naturally to them, where their talents shine through.
Reflect on the strengths and qualities you observe in their character and abilities.
Discovering hidden strengths:
Discovering hidden strengths requires a keen eye and a willingness to delve deeper into your child's world. Take note of these prompts that can help uncover their hidden talents and aspirations:
Where do you get pushback? Pay attention to the areas where your child resists or pushes back against certain tasks or expectations. It could reveal a character trait or skill that they may be struggling to express or develop. For example, if they resist following strict rules, it might indicate a desire for autonomy or an independent spirit.
What does your child complain about? Take note of the things your child frequently complains about or expresses frustration towards. These complaints can offer valuable insights into their secret longings or desires. For instance, if they often complain about a lack of time for creative activities, it may indicate a hidden passion for artistic expression.
How does your child show you his love? Observe the unique ways your child expresses affection and love. It could be through acts of service, verbal affirmations, or physical gestures. Recognizing and appreciating their expressions of love can shed light on their innate strengths, such as empathy, kindness, or a natural inclination toward nurturing others.
In addition to uncovering their strengths, it is equally important to focus on decoding moments of difficulty and frustration. As Mona Delahooke says:
"When we see a behavior that is problematic or confusing, the first question we should ask isn't 'how do we get rid of it?' but rather, 'what is this telling me about this child?'"
Modern neuroscience has revealed that challenging behavior serves as a form of communication. When a child displays problematic or concerning behavior, their nervous system perceives danger or a threat. It signals that the expectations placed on them exceed their current capabilities, and specific cognitive, social, or emotional deficits may be at play. Such behavior does not reflect a child's deliberate disobedience or inherent "bad" character.
The Curious Detective (Decoding Behavior)
Staying curious is the key to finding the underlying causes of our kiddo's difficulties. When we refrain from making assumptions or placing judgments, we'll be amazed at what we can discover.
Here's how to be a curious detective:
Observe patterns in their behavior and identify recurring challenges or themes that may initially seem random.
Get specific and ask yourself, "What aspects of this expectation are challenging for them?" Then pose the same question to your child.
Cultivate empathy by asking open-ended questions, practicing reflective listening, and trying to understand their point of view. Validate their experience and step into their shoes. Remember that they want to do well.
Believe your child when they articulate why specific tasks or situations are difficult. Trust their insights and experiences, as they provide valuable information for effectively addressing their challenges.
The more we devote ourselves to uncovering our kiddo's strengths and understanding their challenges, the stronger our connection, the more meaningful experiences we can share, and the more FUN the summer becomes.
Stay tuned for our next blog where we will explore the final letter in FUN and delve into the power of an open and positive mindset.
We'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to post a comment below.
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