Where Are Your Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses?

What are your personal strengths and weaknesses as a parent? Have you ever taken the time to assess yourself? We all bring certain qualities to any situation we face. Sometimes those qualities are beneficial and work well with the situation, and sometimes those qualities work against the situation. Sometimes a quality that is normally beneficial can turn into one that works against a situation when you have children. Take punctuality, for instance. If you like to be on time as much as possible, you may begin to have problems when you have children because, through no fault of their own, children can make you late. For example, babies spit up, normally after you're ready for work and walking out the door. This can cause you stress if you like to be on time, making punctuality a strength that works against you in that situation by causing you additional stress and worry.

Take a look at these personal strengths and weaknesses and assess where you are on a scale of one to ten, with one meaning that you do not have the trait at all and ten meaning that you have the trait to the point of excess. Think of situations in which your strengths may have been weaknesses when it came to raising your child.

Active Flexible Astute Honest Broad-minded Intuitive Compatible Logical Conscientious Loyal Consistent Methodical Courteous Persistent Dependable Productive Determined Proficient Diligent Resourceful Disciplined Self-reliant Effective Sincere Energetic Straightforward Enthusiastic Talented Fair Thoughtful

Honestly assessing which areas are your strengths will help give you insight into how you handle situations with your child. If you are competitive, you may have a hard time losing at checkers to your eight-year-old. Or if you are a disciplined person, you may have a hard time with the hectic schedule of a preteen. No matter what assets you have, your children will make you look at them in a different light.

Your children will also magnify your weaknesses exponentially. Murphy's Law never fails here. If you are a clutter bug, prepare not to be able to find your living room. If you have a quick temper, it will soon be able to be set off in two seconds flat, on the hour, every hour. Another funny thing you will find about your weaknesses is that many times they will also be your child's weaknesses. They will be the things that bother you most about what your child does. The reason it bothers you so much is that you see yourself mirrored in your child. Since, as a parent, you don't want your child to mimic your faults, these will be the things that bother you most.

ALERT!

Don't let other people determine what your traits are or what they aren't. When someone labels you with a trait, you may begin to act that way because of the label he or she has given you. Don't give others this much power over how you act.

Never feel boxed in by assessing your traits or typing yourself. If you are doing an honest personal assessment, your type merely identifies your preferred way of dealing with the external world. It should give you confidence in your strengths and throw up red flags to help you deal with your weaknesses. It's your free will to use your strengths and work on your weaknesses. That is part of what makes you an individual.

Building Your Family's Strengths

Your family is a combination of all the individuals who define it. It has a life of its own. It is a tangible entity that has its own strengths and weaknesses. There are things in life that affect the entire family as a whole. Lack of time together, lack of money, and personal trauma can cause tension and weaken family bonds.

Strong families have common qualities that promote their strengths. First, they are committed to each other. They give each other support and encouragement through the bad times, and they share in the joy and excitement of the good times. Second, they openly show caring and appreciation for each other. They notice when one member of the family achieves something or needs support. Third, they communicate with each other. When there is a problem or tension among family members, they know how to communicate the problem without hurting anyone's self-esteem. Fourth, they have strong ties with their community. They are involved in community organizations, churches, and schools. They use these ties to strengthen their inner bonds with each other. Fifth, they aren't afraid to seek outside help. If there is a problem they can't handle, they will turn to where they can find the answer.

Strong families are successful families. There is a give-and-take between the individual and the family that strengthens each other. When the individual needs help, the family is there for him. When the family needs help, the individuals support it and strengthen it.

Dos and Don'ts of Strengths and Weaknesses

Here is a quick list of what to remember when you are using your strengths and working out your weaknesses.

  • Do give yourself opportunities to encourage your abilities.

  • Don't allow one of your abilities to overshadow your other abilities.

  • Do develop habits that will strengthen your weaknesses.

  • Don't attack yourself because of your weaknesses—everyone has them.

  • Do accept criticism graciously.

  • Don't give criticism freely.

  • Do step out of your comfort zone in order to gain some personal growth.

  • Don't overcompensate for your weaknesses—find some level ground.

  • Do be aware of others and their priorities.

  • Don't dismiss other people because you don't agree with their principles.

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