Parent-Child Strengths Mapping
April 19, 2016 by VIA Institute on Character ·
Being a parent is hard work. There is no job description that can fully prepare you for the responsibility, rewards, challenges and uncertainty that come with having children. How can you possibly nurture and guide this other person when you are still navigating life yourself? Well…you do it together! You rely on your strengths and your child’s strengths to learn from one another and celebrate the traits that make each of you feel fulfilled.
Here’s an exercise to help you get started.
Step 1: Explore Your Best Qualities
After taking the VIA Survey, and getting your in-depth VIA Me Report and/or VIA Pro Report, take time to reflect on the feedback. Your VIA Me Report reviews all 24 character strengths, breaking them out into your signature, middle and lesser strengths, to give you a sense of how much you “own” each of the strengths. And your VIA Pro Report gives you a wealth of information on your signature strengths—those qualities that you are naturally more comfortable using. Use the reports to create a list of ways that you can use your signature strengths more in your interactions with your children. Are you high in…
- Prudence? Maybe you and your son/daughter develop a weekly meal plan for dinners together.
- Judgment? Consider one thing that you and your child don’t agree on and spend time getting more information on his/her point of view.
In essence, how can you use your character strengths to foster a stronger relationship with your child?
Step 2: Appreciate Your Child’s Strengths
In step 1 your focus was on applying your own strengths. Now in Step 2, we’ll explore how your results compare to your child’s results and what you can do to embrace the differences. First, encourage your child to take the VIA Youth Survey (for ages 10-17) to get their own Character Strengths Profile and VIA Youth Decoder Report (free Parent Guide accompanies Report). Review the results together and compare their strengths with yours. Do any of your signature strengths overlap? What are strengths that he/she has that are not high for you? How can you cultivate these qualities and learn from your child in these areas? Is your child high in…
- Curiosity? Spend time asking questions together. Ask your child what he/she thinks about TV shows, foods they eat, people they interact with, places they visit, etc. Feed their curiosity!
- Honesty? Take time to discuss things that make you unique from others and why these qualities make you happy. Model their authenticity and openness!
What character strengths does your child exhibit that you can help nourish and develop? How can knowing these strengths contribute to a better relationship?
Use Strengths to Boost Your Relationships
Character strengths are a key pathway to creating stronger, deeper connections. Instead of focusing on what’s “challenging” or “wrong with” the other person or the relationship, character strengths help you to recognize and amplify what is positive. But how do you go from just thinking about this transformation to making actionable changes?
Our experts have proposed a 5-model framework for retooling and revitalizing your relationships. In our new, online course, Positive Relationships and Character Strengths, we’ll walk you through the 5 components—Knowing and Being Known, Appreciating and Accepting, Nurturing, Repairing and Resolving Conflicts, and Growing Together—with lectures highlighting research and strategies, meditations, case examples, and practical exercises and tips. This course will give you a new perspective on your close, personal relationships and how you can use your character strengths AND the character strengths of the other person to find better ways to communicate, support and relate to one another, and enhance the bond. Learn More.