As parents, we all desire to see our children grow to be successful adults. We even may be guilty of indulging in the occasional daydream of seeing them as the next big star, startup genius in Silicon Valley, or top Olympics competitor. But, more realistically, you want to see them grow up to be happy, healthy and well-rounded individuals.
Helping your child discover their hidden talents and passion is extremely rewarding. So take time to step back, observe, and highlight the strengths your child displays. Are they naturally artistic compared to their peers? Are they good negotiators and communicators? Does your child have an ear for a second language?
Once your child’s hidden talent unveils itself, encourage them with words of affirmation, camps geared towards that particular area of interest and praise them for fine-tuning these talents.
A few of our team members shared some more insight on how you can uncover your child’s hidden talent.
It is easy to notice the negative. In fact, our brains have a natural inclination to remember negative experiences, thoughts, and characteristics – often referred to as the negativity bias. In my work, I have heard educators and parents provide lists of “problems” or things they want to “fix” about children. Teams meant to support children can actually do the opposite when the child is viewed through a deficit lens. And guess what, when we believe children are “problems” or “less than”, they get that message. Luckily, I have also worked with educators and parents that recognize the following: Every. Single. Child. Has. Strengths AND Talents.
In a few short months, many children will be returning to school for the first time since March 2020. People are worried about “learning loss” and trauma. Yes, the pandemic has affected children in many ways and it is important to pay attention. However, remember, if we look for the negative we will most likely find something negative. I encourage everyone to shift their mindset and look for the positives. What talents and strengths emerged from the time children spent at home? What skills did children learn? This approach does not erase the struggles over the past year and a half. Instead, it balances the narrative and lets us appreciate the natural resilience and brilliance of youth.
If you’ll indulge me, I will now do a little mom bragging :). Over the past year, I have gotten to spend A LOT of time with my children. They have both amazed me with their creativity. My oldest began making earrings out of polymer clay and started her own Etsy shop, Frazzled Design, with top-quality, fun products. My youngest began cooking dinner for the family once a week, painted beautiful artwork, and invented a variety of fidgets to help her focus during online school. Her need to move and be doing something while learning has been viewed as an “issue” by educators in the past but she has shown us time and time again that it is a strength of hers!
Just watch your children and I promise that you will see their talents emerge. If you want more than my thoughts on the topic visit one of my favorite sites, understood.org. A search of the word “strengths” on their website brings up the following:
We live in a very fast-paced, go-getter part of the country. Many of our children and teens struggle to feel like they are someone special while also having a deep desire to discover the “one thing” that separates them from the rest. As humans, we all want to find our one thing. Adults know that this process is a journey (and we might even realize that humans can’t be broken down into just one thing).
As children, we can feel lost, anxious, and under pressure when we don’t have a special talent or skill that separates us from the rest of the group. What can we do? Well, is your child really good at being LOUD? Praise them for their bravery to use their voice. Does your teen ask you (Ok, demand you) for more privacy? Highlight their ability to advocate for themselves even if it makes someone else uncomfortable.
Basically, can we teach our children to celebrate being really, really, good at being themselves? Can we normalize that maybe the best talent is feeling safe enough to be themselves? Can we model for our children by relearning how to celebrate our most authentic selves? I hope the answer is a resounding YES!
The first step to discovering your child’s hidden talents is to take a deep breath and trust the process. Trust that your child’s talents are already developing even without your intervention and that your child is also invested in developing their own talents. The next step is to expose your child to a wide variety of options for intellectual, athletic, and artistic pursuits.
Depending on your child’s age, this may look like making a variety of different toys and activities available at home, or allowing your child to experiment with different extracurriculars. Finally, offer reflections on how your child feels during those activities. Offering process-oriented reflections as opposed to outcome-oriented feedback encourages a growth mindset that will serve your child in continuing to develop their gifts. It might feel good in the moment to hear “You won the match! Awesome job!” But in the end, comments like “It looked like you felt confident on that last song. It’s clear how hard you’ve been working” help children tune in to their own feelings and recognize the value of hard work.
Until next time, Be Wise!
“Amy is like Oprah – she’s the neighbor you love who is very, very smart”— Parent of 14-year-old son and 18-year-old daughter
She has been a tremendous help with family issues and getting our children organized for success in life. Highly recommend her.— Mom of three young adults ages 20 – 24
“Amy talks about moving children from being externally-driven to internally-driven…and she helps you get there!”— Parent of 15-year-old daughter