5 Strengths Based Parenting tips to help you focus on the good


Strengths Based Parenting tips

These Strengths Based Parenting tips should set you up to create a parenting environment that nurtures your child’s innate qualities.

Rather than trying to improve the things we see as “faults” (my child doesn’t like sport, my child isn’t good enough at Maths, my child isn’t friendly enough, etc), let’s instead pull the focus towards building up the things they are naturally good at.

It’s no surprise to learn that these also tend to be the things they like too.

Read this too: Strengths Based Parenting: Focus on the cans, rather than the can’ts

Strengths Based Parenting tips - 5 tips to help you parent to your child's strengths

5 Strength Based Parenting tips to try

1. Know your child’s strengths

It might seem a bit obvious, but do you really know what your child is good at? What they love to do? Dr Mary Reckmeyer, author of Strengths Based Parenting: Developing your children’s innate talents, recommends looking at four key indicators: yearnings (things your child is drawn to); rapid learning (things they are quick to pick up); satisfaction (things that energise and fulfill); timelessness (things that bring a sense of flow).

Check out the Gallup Institute’s Strengths Explorer (for kids aged 10-14).

2. Help your child get to know their strengths

We can reframe our child’s negative thinking (we all tend to focus on our weaknesses), by highlighting a positive. For instance, when Arabella was getting upset that she wasn’t doing well at school because she wasn’t good at Science, I reminded her that she was a very conscientious person and she would soon figure it out. When Lottie was upset that she didn’t do well in the 100 metres race at school, I reminded her how well she does over long distances because she’s the kind of person who really digs in and sticks at something.

“Instead of trying to minimize a weakness… maximize a strength,” says Dr Lea Waters, author of The Strength Switch.

Remember, strengths can be quite ‘broad’ things: creativity, kindness, analytical skills, calmness, fortitude, friendliness, etc.

For kids: the Gallup Strengths Explorer workbook.

3. Allow them space to work things out

“The average time an adult waits to respond after being asked a question by a child is an amazing nine-tenths of a second. That’s nothing,” Dr Reckmeyer says. “My rule is a three-second rule: triple the amount of time you wait to hear what a child is thinking.” Step back, listen to what your child has to say, then ask, “What do you think?” How does your child think something should be handled? What strengths do they have that they can tackle an issue with?

4. Sit with ‘weakness’

It’s so tempting to want to “fix” the things our children struggle with, but that’s not what this is all about. Their natural tendencies are what we are working with here. If you can’t possibly live with the idea that they will not perform well at something (especially a school something), try to work with your child’s strengths to improve their weaknesses. For example, if they are struggling with a subject at school, try to find the parallels with that subject and subjects they do well at. Try to adjust your thinking to allow weaknesses to ‘just be’, rather than focus all your child’s energy on fixing them.

5. Build on strengths

Once you know your child’s strengths, you can find ways to build on them. For example, if one of your child’s strengths is that they are social and energetic, match these qualities up with a fast-paced team sport. If their strengths are that they are observant and self-contained, a sport like chess or cricket might suit them better. Remember though, if they are not loving any sport at all, that’s okay too. Offer lots of alternatives, then provide plenty of unstructured time for your child to explore the kinds of things they like to do.

Do you find it easier to focus on strengths, rather than faults?

Image by Michał Parzuchowski 

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

We’re very social

More for you

How Mothers Work: Allison Tait

How Mothers Work: Allison Tait

Mums of babies and younger kids seem to share their day-to-day story all the time, but after that — crickets. In an effort to hear more from mums of older kids, we’re sharing this new series called How Mothers Work. We’ve asked mums we admire to tell us how they make...

Is social media damaging to children and teens? We asked five experts

Is social media damaging to children and teens? We asked five experts

Is social media damaging our kids? Chances are you’ve worried about their presence on social media. Who are they talking to? What are they posting? Are they being bullied? Do they spend too much time on it? Do they realise their friends’ lives aren’t as good as they...

Affiliate links

From time to time Mumlyfe uses affiliate links.  It means that Mumlyfe may receive a small commission at no cost to you when you make a purchase using the link.  You can find out more about how it works here.

You may also like


Healthyish pecan caramels make a great school holiday treat

Healthyish pecan caramels make a great school holiday treat

I'm a complete nut freak, plus I'll never say no to a sweet treat, which is why I couldn't say no when this healthier pecan caramels recipe came across my desk. Who can ever resist anything pecan? Today also happens to be Pecan Cookie Day - which is apparently a...

16 hobbies for teens in lockdown and beyond

16 hobbies for teens in lockdown and beyond

Here in Sydney, we are well into our second lockdown for this pandemic. With no end in sight, all the days have begun to look extremely similar. So, it’s time to fix this the only way I know how… trying new things!! If you’re also ready to get out of the lockdown...

Great ideas for lockdown school holidays from a happiness expert

Great ideas for lockdown school holidays from a happiness expert

Lockdown school holidays are upon us again. In pre-pandemic days, many parents and carers would be busily planning holidays interstate or overseas, booking in play dates, organising day trips or tee-ing up visits to family and friends. Instead, a significant amount of...


  1. Jen

    Hi Bron, Great article!
    Our eldest is in year 12 and I wish I had learnt about strength based parenting when she was in primary school. Nonetheless, we have made these changes for our youngest and the results are really paying off.
    Last year he was so very focused on the negative, he would come home from school in a terrible mood. This year things have changed for the better, and I would say this is a combination of resilience and also an increase in self-esteem and self worth.
    We have stuck with some sport but have added in another activity which he seems to be loving. Its away from his regular school friends. it’s his own. It’s so lovely to see.
    Unfortunately I have tried to get some strength based talks to happen at our school, but haven’t had much luck – as of yet.

    • Maxabella

      That is so good to hear, Jen. I think SB is taking off, but it’s still a bit under the radar. It’s actually quite hard to get something new into schools because they have their own learning programs that they have ‘bought into’ (for want of a better word). Best to both your kids and I hope the positivity continues.



  1. Helping your child overcome perfectionism | Mumlyfe - […] lessons in strengths-based parenting 5 strengths-based parenting tips to focus on the good Strengths-based parenting: Focus on the cans,…
  2. 3 important things thriving families do - Mumlyfe - […] […]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This