Foster Your Child’s Strengths

Four ways to help your child succeed by recognizing — and developing — his talents.

encouraging your ADD/ADHD child. ADDitude Magazine

Is your child a natural on the soccer field or a genius in the kitchen? It’s up to you to help him find out where his strengths lie.

Arlene Schusteff

1. Change your perspective. Don't ignore your child's weak points, but don't overlook her strengths either. What is she good at? What does she enjoy doing? In which subjects does she excel? Observe your child closely.

2. Be encouraging. Once you identify your child's natural abilities, encourage him to make the most of them (but don't push). Tell him how proud you are. You may wish to start keeping a “success diary,” in which you record his achievements. Praise from parents goes a long way toward encouraging self-esteem.

3. Enlist teachers' help. Let them know of the talents you've noticed in your child — and ask if they have noticed any others. Suggest that they find ways to hone these abilities. If your daughter is a math whiz, for instance, perhaps her teacher could challenge her with more advanced material. If your son loves music, maybe his English teacher could allow him to write reports on his favorite composers or performers.

4. Create a “safe” environment. Some kids exhibit their strengths only in the right environment. One child might be extremely creative — but only if he’s allowed to "talk to himself" while brainstorming. Another might be a spellbinding storyteller — but only if she's permitted to pace around the room or rock in a chair as she talks. Let your child do whatever it takes to succeed — and see if his teacher will, as well — even if his behavior seems unusual.


This article comes from the February/March 2007 issue of ADDitude.

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