Having a strengths perspective
We are now in week 2 of the ‘Lock down’ – home learning,working from home and generally all being in the same space 24/7. For some, the feeling of having to ‘be everything’ for their children (parent, teacher, coach, entertainer etc) or of having ‘do it all’ – work like you don’t have children and parent like you don’t have work – alongside the pressure of – ‘wow, all this time at home, all the things you could achieve’ idea could very quickly lead to frustration, disappointment and tension.
It is human nature to scrutinise our weaknesses or what we are not achieving and then magnify them. However, it is not helpful and can lead to a downward spiral in the way we view ourselves, talk to ourselves and the language we use when interacting with those around us.
An example – Before I had my son I had very grandiose ideas about the type of parent I would be, an earth mother who made all food from scratch, I would bake with him, I would create fabulous sensory based activities each evening that he could wake up to each morning….and so it goes on! Needless to say this is not the reality. I was not a baker or much of a cook before I had my son and neither was I a creative Early Years teacher. Dwelling on the kind of parent that I am not, or ruminating on my perceived weaknesses and the activities we do not to does not actually get anywhere. I would see only the things I was not. This would not bode well for my wellbeing or my relationships and interactions with others.
So back to reality….having a strengths perspective means knowing what you are good at and what you love doing and brings you joy. Keeping those things in mind will help you to be successful in the challenges ahead, experience positive emotions, connect successfully with those around and boost wellbeing. I may not be the mother who bakes but I am someone who loves stories, dancing and chatting. I am someone who is good at listening without judgement. Therefore, I choose to focus on what I can do and what I am good at to create positive experiences with my family members or others around me.
You may feel that you are patient, or have good perspective, can use humour, are creative, good at motivating. Whatever your strengths or passions, focus on what you ARE and what you CAN do. Think about how you can use them in this current situation. Use them to engage your daughter/children in staying on track with their own health, wellbeing and education. Role model a focus on strengths by talking about what others in the house are good at. Label other people’s strengths so that they can start to shift their focus onto what they CAN do and the person that they ARE.
Link to Strengths based parenting – greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_be_a_strength_based_parent