Finding Your Strengths as a Family

by Yafa Crane Luria

 

contentWhen 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.

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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:

“People with strong Strategic talents have the ability to sort through the clutter and find the best route. This is not a skill that can be taught. It is a distinct way of thinking — a special perspective on the world at large. This outlook allows them to see patterns where others simply see complexity.”
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Next comes CONNECTEDNESS.

“People strong in the Connectedness theme build bridges between people and groups, showing them how to relate to and rely on each other. They help others find meaning in the unpredictability of the world around them, providing a sense of comfort and stability in the face of uncertainty. Putting it simply, their ability to ‘connect the dots’ from the past, present, and future can give others perspective, guidance, and hope.”
This is exactly what I do with families. I truly believe that families can connect when given another chance with a different script. Neurologically speaking, we get stuck in brain patterns that we can’t alter on our own. I love to show people how to alter their patterns of thinking and acting so that they can be happier and more productive.
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My third strength is POSITIVITY:
“People with strong Positivity talents are generous with praise, quick to smile, and always on the lookout for the upside of the situation. They bring enthusiasm to people, groups, and organizations. They can stimulate others to be more productive and hopeful. They always seem to find a way to lighten the spirits of those around them. They are optimistic, hopeful, and fun-loving. They celebrate every achievement. They find ways to make everything more exciting and more vital.”
This is so me. I am an encourager and a cheerleader for families. I just love helping families progress towards more love and joy.
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My 4th strength is called WOO which means “Winning Others Over.” People may expect me to be critical of them or “salesy.” I’m not either of these. I love meeting new people and learning about them. I always tell parents of ADHD kids, “Just schedule a call. You’re not bothering me. I LIKE hearing from you.” It’s because of this WOO thing.
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And my 5th strength is EMPATHY.
I can’t tell you how many times I’m called a Guardian Angel.
“People with strong Empathy talents can sense the emotions of those around them. They can feel what others are feeling as though the emotions were their own. They intuitively see the world through others’ eyes and share their perspectives. They perceive people’s pain or joy — sometimes before it is even expressed. Their instinctive ability to understand is powerful. They can hear unvoiced questions and anticipate needs. Where others grapple for words, they seem to find the right things to say and strike the right tone. As a result, they help people express their feelings — to themselves as well as to others. They help people give voice to their emotional lives.”
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Now, here’s the REALLY interesting part:

I had none of these strengths or themes when I was a kid, struggling with ADHD. Not one of them.
I want you to know that whatever your fears are for your children, you just don’t know how they’ll turn out. Sure it’s important to get help, but I like to look at at as FAMILY help, rather than help for your child. Your child and your family have SO MUCH POTENTIAL for change.
And I think it’s important that you know what kind of person you’re talking to when you join a program or just schedule a chat. Well, here I am, in living color, as it were!

xo, Yafa

Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved

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What troubles you about parenting an ADHD child or teen?

Let’s talk! No cost, no judgment, no salesy come-on. However you WILL receive a good deal of TLC and expertise. You can say anything. You can cry. You can swear. Your confidentiality is guaranteed, and I promise to listen and give you hope and relief.

Thank you for ‘being there’ to share your wealth of knowledge and personal experience with us who are ‘floundering’ and ‘lost in the forest’ when it comes to ‘dealing with special and difficult circumstances’. Gratefully yours, Rochelle H, Alberta, Canada xox ((((BIG HUGS)))

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