The strengths of your child with ADHD, if embraced and developed, can completely shift one's direction in life. Too often than not, individuals with ADHD are plagued by the "disorder" side of the condition rather than the positive side.
Maybe you've never even heard that there was a positive side to ADHD. But it's true, a complete picture of ADHD must include one's weaknesses as well as one's strengths. This is huge for parents, because if your children are going to thrive with ADHD, they've got to learn how to utilize their strengths. Otherwise, they may spend the majority of their life consumed with disappointment and failure, which will crush their self-esteem and block opportunities for success.
The first step toward thriving with ADHD is recognizing that someone with ADHD really does have strengths. This can't just be wishful thinking. You need to believe it. This is a process of beginning to think about yourself and those with ADHD differently. That's why in our clinics we have replaced the negative label "ADHD" with the positive label "FastBraiin." It's choosing to reject ADHD's negative stigma, and instead of allowing that perception to destroy you or your child's self-image, it's about choosing to focus on the strengths of someone with ADHD or FastBraiin.
Go ahead, next time you are with your kids, let them know that they are FastBraiin. Watch the difference it makes!
There's no denying that ADHD comes with real weaknesses, and we aren't pretending to gloss over the true difficulty you may be experiencing. But the strengths of your child with ADHD / FastBraiin are very real and may include:
- Creativity and the world's most imaginative ideas
- Highly personable and engaging personalities
- Some of society's most outgoing and passionate people
- A willingness to take risks that can turn into world-changing value
- Long track-records of success as artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and salespeople
After you embrace the positive potential of ADHD, the next thing you need to do is identify the strengths of your child with ADHD. Your children need to know they have unique strengths, not a disease. They can thrive, not just survive. They have "FastBraiin," not an “attention-deficient disorder.”
As you begin to help your child identify his or her strengths, recognize that you're actually displacing some old thoughts. It could be helpful to spend some time journaling about past negative experiences around ADHD. Your child will not let go of the stigma and will not focus on their strengths until you do, so it's important that you lead the way.
The goal: your child would see themselves positively, just like you see them.
We know it's difficult when people talk about your child having ADHD. Noone, especially parents, wants others bringing up their child's weaknesses, much less their "disorders". But we want what you want, that instead they praise your children and talk about their strengths, and more importantly, that that's how your child begins to think of him or herself.
You want your child to believe that he or she has incredible value and brings a wonderful set of skills and a unique perspective to everything they do. But how can you help your child embrace and develop his or her strengths if you don't know what they are?
Try these five effective questions as ways to identify the strengths of your child with ADHD.
Question 1: What is your child good at?
Have your child actually write these things down. You can contribute, or you can bring in other voices to write down some of these strengths. Perhaps your child's teachers would be willing to send an email that lists several of their strengths. At the very least, ask for 2 or 3 strengths they see in your child.
This list can and should be a massive list. Don't leave a single strength unnamed.
Question 2: What does your child love?
One of the biggest strengths for someone with ADHD is their passion. People love passion, and kids with ADHD have it. Without saying anything else, we can affirm that your child's passions should be celebrated as a strength in and of itself.
At the same time, passion frequently shows us our gifts. Your child is likely really good at the things they are passionate about. What do they wish they could be doing all day long? What do they talk about all day? If you can identify those passions, you're probably closing in on some strengths.
Question 3: Where has your child found success in the past?
Your child has success in his or her past. The strengths of someone with ADHD may not always fit the academic environment of our modern education system (see Dr. Jim's post for a candid take on the education system from an ADHD expert). But with someone as creative, passionate, imaginative and risk-taking as your child, they've found success at some point.
Find those specific instances where they've succeeded. Frequently, those stories of success are billboards pointing your child toward their significant strengths. And be ready to think outside the box. Creativity takes many forms.
Question 4: What should your child do next?
A key for developing the strengths of your child with ADHD is understanding it's a process. First, brainstorm these strengths. Then, go develop them.
What can you do to help your child take the next step in one of these areas? Is there a book on the topic they need to read? Should they be taking an online course? Maybe their strengths are some that will be best utilized in the sports arena. Sports, exercise, and ADHD are great combinations that can actually increase focus. On the other hand, maybe the best thing for your child is finding a mentor, teacher, or coach that can help them succeed.
Question 5: Are you a FastBraiin Insider?
As you look for resources, our team of ADHD experts (pediatricians, biochemists, and licensed counselors and instructors) has made a great resource available for your benefit: The FastBraiin Insider. This is our premier email list for people who are serious about helping their children succeed with ADHD -- including identifying their strengths and boosting their self-confidence. And best of all -- it's free.
What are you waiting for?
Here's our recommendation: start today. As you can probably guess, these five ways to help identify strengths of your child with ADHD are a great starting point. But that's really all they can be: a starting point. If your child is going to grow in these areas, you need to have the conversation.
As simple as these steps are, brainstorming through these questions and then choosing to develop those strengths are two great steps to start moving forward. Then go after it with all your heart, and email us your success so we can celebrate, too.