Focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses will have a major impact on their self-concept.
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Vickie was a distraught mom who reached out to us and shared: “My son is dyslexic and has other learning disabilities. He feels so inept in school. I can tell he just dreads showing me his work.”
Jim Fay shares his wisdom on how to talk with kids who have learning barriers or disabilities — and how we can help ease some of the shame they may feel.
Everybody has unique gifts and abilities. We serve kids well when we focus on their talents and areas of strength.
If kids tell us about a weakness, we can answer, “Yeah, that’s tough. And what are you good at?”
We want to get them to say it out loud. Their brain hears the sound of their own voice and their subconscious mind accepts that information without questioning it.
For the same reason, we might ask to see only their successful papers; only the problems they got correct or the assignments they feel good about. We don’t even want to see the ones they did poorly. We want to get them talking about their correct answers and successes. Ask the question, “How did you do that?” Once again, their brains are going to hear attributions — positive ones that center around effort such as, “I got number three correct” because “I worked hard” or “I kept trying.”
A great way to help these kids is to have a positive impact on their overall self-concept. Most of us don’t like talking about weaknesses and things we don’t do well. Focusing on strengths instead will have a major impact on their self-concept.
Many of the most successful people “fly on their strengths.” They spend the majority of their time and efforts on doing things they are good at and don’t spend too much time on what they don’t do well.
We know this can be tough when schools have certain academic requirements, but that shouldn’t stop us from helping our kids to zero in on and emphasize their strengths.
After sharing these thoughts, Vickie informed us, “He’s a wonderful artist! He’s truly amazing! I’m going to spend more time talking about that and asking him about the things he loves creating. His teacher is great and I know she will do this, too.”
This young man is fortunate. We are betting he is on his way to happier times.
You can hear more about these techniques in Jim Fay’s wonderful audio, Shaping Self-Concept.
Jim Fay - BiographyThanks for reading! Our goal is to help as many families as possible. If this is a benefit, forward it to a friend.
Jedd Hafer


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