Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Help her see others’ strengths and needs.

What you can do

Remind your child she’s good at some things while others are difficult for her. Make clear the same is true for you and everyone else.

Point out the value of recognizing a friend’s strengths and needs. Talk about how it feels to be understood and appreciated by another person. You can even use TV shows to practice studying body language and other clues to help figure out a character’s strengths and needs.

What you can say

“Sofia, everyone’s good at something and faces challenges in other areas. I know you’re proud of your math skills but wish writing could be less difficult. I think I have an excellent singing voice, but I wish I were a better cook.”

“It’s important to recognize your own strengths and needs. But it’s also really important to recognize them in your peers. When you understand these things, you can be a better friend.”

“For example, Chantal is really good at making people laugh. Compliment her on this. She’s also really shy around new people. Maybe there’s some way you can help her feel more at ease.”

“Listening to a friend and also watching her body language will help you figure out what she’s proud of and what she struggles with. One good way we can practice doing this at home is to watch a TV show and talk about the strengths and needs of different characters.”

Why this will help

Tweens and teens with learning and attention issues often have difficulty understanding subtle aspects of language. They might not pick up on body language and other nonverbal cues. That can cause them to misinterpret their peers.

Helping your child recognize strengths and needs in others will enable her to be a better friend. Getting into the habit of trying to see things from another person’s perspective will help her learn how to make other people feel good about themselves. It can also help her develop a more positive self-image. Looking for strengths in others can help her see her own strengths. Practice and positive feedback will help reinforce these skills.

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