During my college days, when I was studying for my Masters, I came across this concept of SWOT Analysis. This was something that really caught my attention in those days. SWOT in its full form is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is generally used in the business sense to identify these four parameters of any business.
But, I believe that this is one analysis that can be used quite effectively in our personal lives too. But what does SWOT analysis have to do with children and parenting? Is this not a parenting blog?? Well! You are not in the wrong place. You are definitely in the right place! This blog is a wonderful resource for parents, who really want to bring out the best in their children. You can use this SWOT analysis to bring out the best in your child.
Coming to our implementation of SWOT analysis in parenting. As parents, when we implement this SWOT analysis on our children, it throws open a host of answers to some really intriguing questions that are sometimes really tough to answer. When done in the right way, you can analyse so many facets of your child that are sometimes hidden from you.
Knowing what your child is good at is not enough. Nor is knowing what he/she is bad at. The trick lies in the fact where you highlight the strengths and weaknesses of your child. And this has to be done without any bias. The child is yours, no doubt. But accepting the strengths and especially the weaknesses of your child requires some bit of effort. There are some parents, whom I have come across, who refuse to accept that their child is weak at anything. They look at everything their child does with biased eyes. They cannot accept that their child can be weak at anything when it is blatantly evident that the child is not good in a particular area.
Every child is different. And this, I believe is the crux of parenting. Each child has to be kept on a different pedestal because each one has their own set of strengths and weaknesses. Analyse these strengths and weaknesses and note them down. Once you are done with it, try and analyse the other opportunities and threats that your child may have to face.
Now comes the crucial part. Strengths are sometimes masked. They need to be dug out and laid out in the open. Once this is done, you have in front of you the different strengths of your child. Using these to your advantage, you need to push your child in the right direction. Attempt to use these strengths and strengthen them even further. Now, use these to also overcome any kind of weakness that your child displays. When your child is strong in a particular area of studies, try and find ways to conquer the weak areas, in ways that are stimulating to the child. A confident child is always ready to explore and learn things in newer and better ways. Your role is to identify ways in which weakness in an area can be converted into strengths.
Here is a small example that I would like to give. When you get a child’s report card, there obviously the cursory glance at the grades that are scored. It is only at a later stage that you delve deeply. How would you react when there are three A’s and two C’s? Would you be able to see the dominant higher grades, or would your eyes shift to the prominent looking grade C’s? In most cases, the parent’s attention shifts from the so-called dominant “A” grades to the prominent “C” grades. Why? Because our minds tend to see negative more clearly than the positive side, which screams for attention. When given a white paper with a small black dot, the black dot is what is visible to people, even though it is just a dot. The entire white area of the paper is simply relegated to the back. This is exactly what happens in case of your child’s grades as well. We sometimes do not see the positive things that are right in front of our eyes. There is a tendency among parents to concentrate more on the negative aspects.
When parents make this switch to seeing and recognising the child’s strengths and talents, then loads of good happens to the child in terms of higher self-esteem, better grades, better ways of learning and importantly being a very happy child! A child then feels that parents are not always criticizing, rather have very positive outlook! This makes the child to open up more. And then this leads to some meaningful conversations between parent and child and better understanding too!
A deep bond between parent and child, where a parent knows inside out of the child, creates opportunities for the full potential of the child to be realised, without forcing him/her to go in the wrong direction. No doubt eliminating the weak areas of your child are very important. But, in the process, do not let the strengths get masked. Constructively focus on realising the true potential of your child. And then slowly bring them to an average level in the weak areas. After all, we need an overall development, right?
And finally, motivate your child. Motivating them to realise their full potential, sometimes takes a lot of effort on part of the parents. But, when done and achieved, you couldn’t have asked for more.
A few tips
- Focus on the strengths first.
- Tackle the weaknesses later.
- Motivate them to do their personal best.
- Leave comparisons aside. Each child is different.
- Help your child in chalking out a plan of action, setting achievable goals and objectives.
- Communicate more often.
- Let your child have a good self-esteem.
- Focus on overall development with stress on strengths rather than on weaknesses.