Strengths

We humans tend to like what we are good at.  Actually, we are more inclined to like things we excel at than we are to like things we simply enjoy.  When I was young, I was good at public speaking–go figure.  I spent a lot of time giving speeches about things I didn’t really care about because I was good at speechmaking.  As a young adult, I found myself in careers like teaching, lecturing, training.  I am generally considered a pretty good teacher and trainer.  It is my strength. 
 
About 5 years ago I had a minor epiphany.  I am shy (this is true, but hard to believe if you know me).  I don’t really enjoy public speaking. I am simply good at it.  Because I was channelled rather early to hone my speaking ability, I really didn’t do much of anything else for enjoyment.  I recall wanting to learn the piano, but I wasn’t good at it.  I wanted to try basketball, but I wasn’t athletic.  I wanted to train dogs, but I didn’t know how.  I was good at speeches and everyone around me reflected this strength to me.  I thought it was all I was good at, so it was all I did.
 
Our traumatized children have trouble accepting that they are good at anything.  Some of them are quite good at many things, while others are quite poor at many things.  Once in awhile our children will grab ahold of a strength and become extremely boastful about proficiency.  That is a desperate attempt to feel good inside.  
 
Why am I saying all of this?  Because children need to have all their strengths and all their interests reflected back to them so much that they actually begin to see themselves as “good, talented, interesting, joyful, strong, fun-loving, and capable.”  Emphasize enjoyment, fun, playing, trying new things, taking a chance.  
 
Our kids are embarrassment averse.  They are mortified by so many things, especially standing out in a negative (or even super positive) way.  If they try something and stand out, they may not try that again and maybe they will stop trying to avoid that horrible feeling.
 
Build your child in small ways by reflecting the small things.  This comes naturally to some parents, but may not be so for YOU.  Here are some ideas:
  • You set the table creatively tonight. How will you top this tomorrow?
  • You seem to enjoy singing.
  • I saw you laughing your head off when you played in the pool today.
  • How did you like strumming Dad’s guitar?
  • Let’s share your cookies with the neighbors.  You are a terrific cookie maker.
  • You take a lot of pride in decorating your room. That’s cool.
  • Nice outfit you put together.  You have quite an eye for style.
  • I sent a picture of you playing baseball today to Grandpa.  He will like seeing how you enjoy playing his favorite sport.
Love Matters,
Ce Eshelman, LMFT
The Attach Place Logo The Attach Place provides a monthly no fee Trust-based Adoptive Parent Support Group in Sacramento, every 2nd Wednesday of each month.  Next group is May 13th. Come join us.  Online RSVPeach month required.   Child care provided.
Next 10-hr. Trust-based Parenting Course  is planned for May 16th and May 23th, 10am to 3pm each day.  Child care provided for an extra fee. Sign-up online at www.attachplace.com.
Next Hold Me Tight Couples Workshop by Robin Blair, LMFT at The Attach Place is planned for April 17th, 18th and 19th.
The Attach Place supports The Wounded Warrior Project by providing free neurofeedback to veterans.  Feel free to send a soldier our way for an assessment and 20 session course of treatment.
Feel free to send this link to friends or family members who you would like to receive Daily YOU Time: Wisdom for Adoptive Parents.

I am sending my love to Nepal where so many are
suffering and so many have died in the earthquake.
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