When parenting an ADHD child, or if you have ADHD yourself (or BOTH), heading back to the drawing board, as they say, is pretty common. There’s nothing wrong with that. We are people whose preferences and interests can change. That’s why approaching parenting from a strengths base as opposed to a “what-needs-to-be-fixed” point of view is so much more helpful.
I love using Strengths Finder 2.0 with my clients. It’s really revealing when the whole family participates, and each member (or each member that is old enough) gets their results.
The Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0 is written by the Gallup Strengths Center. You can purchase a physical book at a bookstore or online, or you can purchase an ebook, or just the test online. They explain, “Decades of Gallup research has proven that when individuals have the opportunity to discover their natural talents and purposely develop them into strengths, the effect on individual and organizational performance is transformational.
Why we clash
What I find so interesting is that, despite our strengths, family members can clash because one strength may not match another one. For example, if someone is very achievement oriented, he or she may be confused by a person that is primarily idea-oriented. The first is results-driven, the second is possibilities-driven.
I had a client whose strengths (or “talent themes”) were very motherly: Connectedness, Communication. The trouble was that those weren’t qualities that would reach her headstrong son, who wasn’t interested in her mothering (smothering) him. His strengths were typical of people who like control, like Competition and Command. He was interested in running the family whereas his mother was interested in harmony. And even though harmony was her goal, the two were constantly engaged in a power struggle.
Another client I had wondered why her she couldn’t keep her friends for longer than a year or so. When she took the survey, we learned that all her strengths were mental strengths and that she lacked any emotional strengths. She realized that she was the one pushing her friends away not the other way around.
You can’t really predict what strengths or “themes” will be assigned to you. When I first looked at the full list, I thought I’d get LEARNER and INTELLECTION for sure. What I learned is that I don’t lack these characteristics, it’s just that others are stronger. On the other hand, many people with ADHD get “FUTURISTIC” or “IDEATION” – that urge to create, to bask in thinking up new pathways.
In Family Dynamics, knowing which strengths to build on in yourself and in your children is a key component of nurturing and uplifting your family “team.” For example, if one of your strengths is DISCIPLINE – sticking to systems and structures – and on of your child’s (or spouse’s) strengths is FUTURISTIC, explaining why cleaning up after yourself is important takes on a new aspect. Using a DISCIPLINE approach probably won’t register with a FUTURISTIC mind. Instead, you would join that creative mind and help him/her envision a new room set-up, a new cleaning strategy, or a whole new theme to the room, with new paint perhaps or a new bedspread.
Which are my strengths?
As an ADHD Strategist, it’s interesting to learn that my top strength is STRATEGIC THINKING. I love this! It’s the thing I love the most about myself. I can see possibilities that many others do not. I can come up with plans for families that fit their personality, their values, and their lifestyle (busy family or chill family). I love strategizing SO MUCH. As the people at Gallup point out:
Next comes CONNECTEDNESS.
Now, here’s the REALLY interesting part:
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