Want To Help Your Children Become Who They Were Meant to Be?


Do you know how to help your children figure out what they excel at? Do you know what to say when they are trying to choose their life’s work?

Were You Caught Off Guard?

Many times parents are caught off guard and do not know how to help their children make these life defining decisions.

As parents, we know each of our children is a unique individual – full of surprises and amazing gifts. But we lack the skills and knowledge to help them realize how special they are and who they can become. Many of us rely on schools to help them "find their thing" in life – and end up worrying about them the rest of their lives. Are they happy? Are they fulfilled? Are they doing OK?

It can seem like our job as parent never ends because we are never sure if we did enough, loved them enough, helped them enough. We want to know in our hearts that they indeed are happy beyond their wildest dreams, yet are powerless to tell them how to achieve that.

So what can a parent do to help their children recognize how unique they are and what they can be great at?

What Makes Them Unique?

1 - Help them discover what makes them unique and special. From our experience, happiness is rooted in knowing who you are and that you can excel at something you love. So take the time to read over our pages on about potential and what makes your child unique.


Give Them Lots of Opportunities

2 - Give them lots of opportunities to discover their gifts and talents. Most children start exploring as toddlers, rummaging through closets and keep on exploring the world as teenagers. One of the things we think they are looking for is what they excel at -- the things that bring them praise and attention. The more opportunities they have to explore what they can do, the higher the odds they will discover their 5 to 10 natural abilities early in life, giving them plenty of time to explore and develop them before they need to commit to studying them full time and building a career around them. Family activities are a great way to give everyone lots of ways to explore and find their gifts.

Provide Positive, Specific Feedback

3 - Give them fast, specific feedback about their natural abilities. Children (as well as adults) often do not recognize their own talents. As a parent, you may be the only person in the world who will catch your child in the act of using one of their gifts. When you do, take a moment to let them know that they just did something amazing and tell them exactly what it is. Go beyond saying "you are great" to "you are great at reading. I love all those different animal voices you used. I think you may have a talent for making stories come alive with different voices."

It doesn't require much time or words. You want to make a brief comment -- just enough to make an impact and give them an idea of what they may be great at. By describing exactly what they did in a few words, you give a name to their skill but leave them with something to focus on, think about and explore. Just telling a child "you are wonderful, amazing or great " is not enough. They think that is what moms and dads are supposed to say.

Unfortunately, mentioning a career or job title ruins most feedback because it puts the cart before the horse. First you figure out what you excel at, then you find the work (and the job title that goes with it) that pays you handsomely to do it. If you mention a job title, it shifts their focus from being great and exploring their gift to having to choose a career -- often a decision a 3, 7, or 13 year old is not ready for.


Take On The Resposibility

4 - Don't rely on teachers and career counselors to spot your child's potential. Teachers have 30 children to look after and a lesson plan to get through. They can't possible catch every child in the act of using their gifts and talents. And career counselors usually only see children briefly and have to work with grade point averages and aptitude test scores. They don't have the time to see every child in action and know who has a knack for great comedic timing and who has the manual dexterity and love of history to restore priceless works of art. So instead of relying on others, we suggest you work with them to help your children discover who they are. Teacher-parent conferences can be spent talking about more than grades, classroom behavior and social skills. You can spend them trading insights about what your child excels at, the subjects they love, and the other ingredients of their potential. You can form a support team to spot your child's potential both at home and in the classroom.


Champion Them On Their Journey

5 - Support and champion them on their journey of self discovery. Growing up is tough. Just look at the basic list of life skills I came up with. Then add in all the emotional ups and downs as they learn some of life's toughest lessons about friendship, betrayal, jealousy, joining a "click" or going it alone, and the heartache of falling into and out of like and love for the first time.

They need time and a little help to figure out who they are. Along the way they will try on and discard lots of ideas, causes and trends. That is just part of test driving all the options of who they can become to decide which ones fit them best. As a parent, being able to take the long view and know what to expect is a great advantage. So is having access to the skills and knowledge you need to help without doing it for them.

So encourage healthy exploration, keeping their options open until they are ready to make some decisions, and champion them figuring things out -- even if you yourself can't champion their cause d' jour or the color they dye their hair.

If our web pages or tools can help -- well that is what we are here for.


Be Willing To Be A Role Model

6 - Be willing to become a living role model by discovering your own potential. It is a fact of life that children watch what their parents do, and pay more attention to actions than words. And they are much more willing to follow in their parents footsteps if their parents have blazed a successful trail into the unknown. So if you find your bliss, the chances are more likely that your children will be inspired and curious enough to go searching for their own. If learning about your own potential positively impacts your life, they will notice. And that is half the battle -- getting and keeping their attention on the things that matter most.


Helpful Resources

Here are a few of the resouces and tools I recommend if you are seeking to help your children discover their potential and who they are meant to become. Use them to spark ideas -- many may be at your local library.




Discover Your Children's Gifts

This guidebook helps parents identify and then develop their children's gifts, based on assessing their personality. Learn how their most annoying habits can be the talents that make a great career.  



Smart but Scattered: The Revolutionary "Executive Skills" Approach to Helping Kids Reach Their Potential

A great resource to help parents when you have run out of ideas for how to help your brilliant but scattered kids discover, develop and use their potential.  



You Are Your Child's First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six

If you want to expand your parenting approach, this book offers ideas based on the Waldorf school methods for helping children learn and explore the world around them.



The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life

This book offers ideas on how to help your children discover their potential and turn it into a purpose that leads them successfully out into life. Includes ideas, exercises and examples you can use.



Your Child's Strengths: Discover Them, Develop Them, Use Them

A guide by an educator for how parents can help their kids discover their strengths and talents, as well as learn how to apply them  



Sparks: How Parents Can Ignite the Hidden Strengths of Teenagers  

A practical guide for how to find that special spark inside your child and ignite it so that passion, purpose and joy flow from finding and following their gifts and talents.




Doing Work You Love : Discovering Your Purpose and Realizing Your Dreams  

A throrough guide filled with ideas and exercises to help you see how to find work you love so you can help your children find theirs.



You Are Special  by Max Lucado

This special story reminds us of how special we are and not to lose sight of who we really are by trying to fit into the stereotypes and labels others want to pin on us.



The Oak Inside the Acorn  

This special story reminds us of how special we are and the potential that lies inside of us. It can help you embrace your inner potential and and become who you were meant to be. Small things do have big potential.



Potential Simplicity Bracelet  

A simple gift for your child to remind them to stay true to their potential and seek the clues that will help them discover what it is.


The Next Step

Read about the types of family activities that help everyone learn more about their potential or check out our family pages.

Or you can read my articles and recommended tools for finding great work and the eight ingredients that make it great - work you love, that calls to you, matters to you, are passionate about, excel at and are inspired by and well paid to do.


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