Empower Your Child: Transform Weaknesses into Strengths for Lifelong Success

What you perceive as your child's greatest weaknesses are directly related to their greatest strengths. Teach them to embrace their flaws and find success.
a mom comforts her son

I have a wild bunch of kids, and the eldest is a real wolf. He makes sure he gets the lion’s share of whatever he wants: attention, food, toys, or power. If there’s a birthday party, he’s always the first one in line for cake, and gets the biggest piece. He is smart, tricky, and driven. 

My husband and I have been working hard to teach him more patience and empathy. I worry that his aggressive approach will cost him friends or opportunities… or get him into more serious trouble. So as we are trying to sand down his rough edges, I can’t help but wonder: how can you alter a human’s base nature? And should you?

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing a presentation by David Rendall – comedian, public speaker and author of Pink Goldfish. He thoughtfully pointed out that what you perceive as your child’s greatest flaws are directly connected to their greatest strengths. If your child is “too emotional,” they’re also probably very empathetic. If they “can’t sit still,” they likely have lots of energy. Rendall suggests that instead of trying to minimize our flaws, we need to develop those strengths. He drew a chart, similar to the one below, that really drove the point home to me.

a mom comforts her son

I have to admit that my child’s focus, drive, and confidence are some of my favorite qualities about him. Nonetheless, if he’s going to succeed in a civilized world, we need to teach him how to navigate other humans. 

Recognizing your child's strength

In order to identify your child’s hidden strengths, try observing their abilities, interests, and behaviors. Here are five ways you can see the positive side of their behavior:

  1. Observe Their Interests and Passions: Pay attention to what activities or subjects your child naturally gravitates toward. Notice when they become engrossed in something or express genuine enthusiasm. Even if their passions aren’t something you love, try to see what skills they practice when they are gaming (problem solving/socializing/hand-eye coordination), raiding the kitchen (creativity/future chef), or building forts with all the couch cushions (architecture/imaginative play).

  2. Encourage Exploration: Find other activities that use those same skills or offer similar challenges. Offer a wide range of experiences and opportunities for your child to explore different activities, hobbies, and interests. If something fascinates them, stick with it! If they don’t love it, it’s okay to move on.

  3. Listen to Feedback from Teachers and Coaches: Teachers, coaches, and others who know your child can provide valuable insights into their strengths. Consult with these individuals to learn about your child’s performance, behavior, and areas where they shine. You might be surprised to learn that your child is actually a very good listener (at school).

  4. Talk with them: Have open and supportive conversations with your child. Ask them about their favorite activities, what they feel confident doing, and where they think they excel. Encourage them to reflect on their accomplishments and areas where they feel most capable. You can make plans together that encourage their passions.

  5. Look for Patterns of Success: Over time, you may notice patterns of success in certain areas. If your child consistently performs well in particular subjects, excels in sports, or demonstrates strong problem-solving skills, these can be indicators of their strengths.

Remember that “strength” isn’t limited to academic subjects or athletic abilities. Consider qualities like empathy, creativity, leadership, and resilience. These traits are often a bigger factor in lifelong success than being brilliant or a superstar. 

Thinking differently about weaknesses

If your child is aware of certain weaknesses, you can help reframe the problem into a challenge or even an asset. Talk about the positive aspects of that weakness and finding ways to channel it into a valuable attribute. Here are five ways to accomplish this:

  1. Identify Transferable Skills: Analyze the skills associated with the weakness and consider how they might be applied in a more positive way. For example, if a child is gullible and tends to get tricked easily, they are also open-minded and ready to explore new ideas.

  2. Provide Role Models: Share your own stories of how you translated your own weaknesses into strengths. Introduce other individuals or characters who have overcome similar weaknesses and achieved success. This can help kids see that their shortcomings don’t have to define them.

  3. Set Realistic Expectations: Set realistic expectations for growth in the areas where your child faces challenges. In cases where a weakness significantly impacts a child’s well-being or development, consider consulting with professionals, such as therapists, tutors, or educational specialists. These experts can provide tailored strategies to address the weakness and help your child thrive.

  4. Foster Growth Mindset: Teach your child about the concept of a growth mindset, which emphasizes the effort along the way rather than the final outcome. Share how you developed abilities through effort and perseverance. Encourage them to view their weakness as an opportunity for growth and learning.

  5. Use Positive Reinforcement: Reward and acknowledge your child’s progress and efforts in addressing their weakness. Positive reinforcement can motivate them to work on turning their weakness into a strength. For instance, a child who struggles with procrastination may also be very patient. Highlight and celebrate these strengths to boost their self-esteem.

Don’t forget to approach this process with patience, empathy, and understanding. Parents are the most influential people in young people’s lives, and your support and love are the most important gifts you can provide.

You might also like...

Mari Collins Harris, Ketshop co-founder, paints faces at the 2023 Teddy Bear Picnic

2023 Teddy Bear Picnic

Ketshop was a proud sponsor at the 2023 Teddy Bear Picnic, an annual fundraiser for Tahoe’s Connection for Families. We had a blast painting faces and meeting our youngest community members!

Read More »
Parenting Reset Show with Therese Connolly

The Parenting Reset Podcast

Parenting isn’t easy. On the Parenting Reset podcast, we discuss how Ketshop is providing a better way to teach responsibility, no matter your family structure.

Read More »

join the waitlist

We want to provide the best possible experience for our users. Right now, we’ve reached our maximum capacity. 

Join the waitlist to be notified of availability!

Be the parent you always wanted to be.

Join our newsletter to make raising kids easier.



Make the holidays better for everyone.

Subscribe and get our Surviving the Holidays workbook for free.

We will not share your name & email.