Podcast Episode 26:
Optimizing Your Child’s Education Through Getting to Know Your Kid: Strengths

What are your strengths?  How many of your kid’s strengths can you name?

 

This week’s podcast is all about using your kid’s strengths to optimize their education.

 

Charlie was amazing at soccer and he was the most charismatic kid I’ve met.  He had an advanced vocabulary and could carry a conversation beautifully.

 

But- he could barely read, hated writing, and got confused with most math.  This could then lead to defiance when asked to complete an assignment in class.  And he would make jokes constantly.

 

Luckily, Charlie had amazing teachers.  We saw through his jokes as attempts to divert attention away from what he was struggling with.  We saw the defiance as an exhaustion of trying to do what everyone else was doing when it was just too hard.

 

While some teachers may have wanted to take away recess as a punishment for not getting an assignment done, Charlie’s teachers knew that would be counter-productive.

 

Charlie needed the time to shine out on the soccer field at recess.  He needed to move his body to release energy.  And he was boosting his brain power every time he was out there playing: integrating left and right hemisphere, predicting, planning, executing.

 

By allowing Charlie to shine where he could, by embracing his charm and charisma, we allowed him to be his amazing self.  We also allowed his brain to continue to develop.

 

We used his amazing speaking abilities to allow him to participate in the learning and discussions in class. Even if he didn’t write down any of the work, he was learning the material!

 

By fourth grade, he was close to reading at grade level.  He understood most math with just a little extra support and practice, and the help of a multiplication chart.  And he had learned to utilize voice-typing to create writing that was more in line with his speaking ability.

 

Often, when we push a child to do something that they are struggling with, they’ll struggle more.  When we encourage them to do what they’re already good at, we can help them access that with which they are struggling.

 

Your turn to put this into action!

 

Take some time to reflect right now:

 

What is your child really good at?  (even if you often see it in a negative light; ie: “he talks too much”; “he’s always making a big mess out of Lego”)

 

What is your child always doing?  How do they choose to spend their time?

 

Write down all of the strengths that you can think of.  Pick one or two and consider: how can I help encourage these to grow?  How can I get out of the way of their growth?

 

This is one of those strategies that is beautiful immediately, but can take a long time to pay off.  It’s so worth it though!  It’s worth the relationship you are building.  It’s worth the brain power and self-confidence you are boosting!

Audio version: www.DecodingLearningDifferences.com

Transcript:

This is Decoding Learning Differences with Kimberlynn Lavelle. This episode is part of our series, optimizing your child's learning through getting to know your kid strengths. So in this episode, we'll be talking about getting to know your child's strengths and how that will help you optimize your child's learning, allowing for your child to learn the very best they can in the easiest, most accessible way possible.

Okay. So the big thing that we have to do here is to discover what our child's strengths are. What are your child's strengths? How do you know what your child's strengths are? It's a little bit sad. Sometimes parents get so focused on what their child is struggling with that when I asked them, what are your child's strengths? I have had parents not be able to tell me,

or they'll say something like, well, they've got so many and they don't, they aren't able to name any, like they know that their child has strengths, but there have been so focused on naming the concerns or the issues that they've not taken time to reflect and name the strengths. Knowing our child's strengths Will definitely Help us to better educate our children.

So please take some time and get to know what are your child's strengths? What are they really good at? And it doesn't have to be something that you think is going to lead to a career in something specific, whatever they are really good at. I had an interview with Peter Crosby and he mentioned, you know, encouraging your autistic child, that if they're hand flapping,

let him hand flat. It's their strength, right? They're really good at hand flapping. And that might feel really uncomfortable. But one of the things he was talking about is when you are comfortable and you're good with their stemming, they actually stand less, But Right. But whatever it is, whatever your child is really good at, they're really good at talking back to you.

You can reframe that into they're really good at expressing their beliefs and their thoughts. They're really good at standing up for themselves. They're really good at communicating their, their desires. You can definitely look for those strengths, think really carefully, what are they really good at? And even if you start with it as kind of a negative, because that's how it's been framed,

how can you flip that around to be a positive? A lot of children get in trouble for something and it winds up being their super power. I've heard it so many times. I've given the example. Several times of my husband got in trouble for drawing video games in school, got his notebook taken away. He wanted to being a video game designer.

He gets paid to make video games, to design video games, just like he was doing in his notebook. And guess what? He has a whole bunch of notebooks that he still designs video games then, because that's part of the process. There are people who used to get in so much trouble for always talking and now they're public speakers. They get paid a lot of money to go talk.

So sometimes the negative piece is actually your child's strengths. So don't, don't just be looking for the things that are assumed to be good qualities, look for whatever it is that they do better than anyone else and not even better than anyone else. What do they do better than anything else that they do? What is their relative strength, even because for their age,

for themselves, for their compared to their other abilities, what is it that they are really good at knowing what they're really good at can help us really drive? Where do we need to focus our efforts and really build on those strengths so that we can help them to be more successful with those strengths in the future. So discover your child's strengths and then boost them.<inaudible> Discover that your child is really good at talking back and help them do even better at it.

Maybe they're going to be an amazing lawyer, being able to argue any case and win. Maybe they're just gonna work on that and persuade people. You know, they'll, there might be a politician or just work on writing laws to make a difference in the world, or be an activist that is working on making a difference in the world. So encourage it.

They're really good at talking back, help them get better at it. Does that feel scary? It can feel scary and that's okay. Recognize how it makes you feel work, work on that, accept it and accept, accept exactly who your child is in each moment. So whatever they're really good at helps you make the meet them better at that thing.

I was just thinking back to that episode that I mentioned with Peter Crosbie, he also talked about his, his advice for parents of children with autism was helped them be as autistic as possible. And that's kind of exactly what I'm saying right now. It's whatever your child's strength is, whatever they're really good at, help them be even better at it. Even if it doesn't feel like a plus.

So I want to know what are your child's strengths? Are you struggling with this concept? Have you had a hard time figuring out what their strengths might be? Reach out to me? Let me know. Kimberlynn@DecodingLearningDifferences.com. It's the best way to get ahold of me is the email I look forward to hearing from you. And I'll talk to you again,

 

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