Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses—parents are no different. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses will help you make better use of your parenting energy and make your parenting attempts more effective.
Of the subjects your kids need to learn about, which do you know the most about? Which do you know the least?
Are you more effective at talking with your child, or do you do better when you can write out your thoughts?
Are you creative or analytical?
Do you feel your greatest parenting strength is with younger kids or older kids?
Notice each of these areas of ability offers a strength and a parallel weakness. No one can be equally good at everything. If you are strong in one area, such as creativity, you will likely be less in another, such as analytical.
Knowing Where to Place Your Energy
The power of knowing what you are strongest and weakest at as a parent is knowing where to place your energy. This is especially important when you are trying to decide which resources to invest in to help you parent. Rather than spending time and money on resources that discuss things you already understand fairly well, invest in areas you are unsure how to address.
The same holds true when it comes to teaching emotions and sexuality. Perhaps you are very comfortable talking about emotions and feel confident teaching your child how to navigate their feelings. If so, you may not need to invest in resources on that subject. Always teach from what you already know! If you feel comfortable teaching about the body’s anatomy or even the basics of reproduction but are unsure how to address the topic of sexual temptation, then invest your attention on resources that address temptation. This may seem very elementary as a concept, however, it is surprising how many parents “know this” but don’t put that knowledge into practice.
For example, let’s say Sally had a good experience as a child when her parents explained to her how sex works. She is now a parent and sees a book on how to explain sex to her child. Her positive memory of that discussion gets her excited about the book, so she purchases it. However, Sally is unsure of where to begin in addressing the issue of sexual temptation. She would greatly benefit from purchasing a resource to help her in that area. My advice to Sally would be to invest in a resource about navigating sexual temptation and use what she already knows to manage the conversation about how sex works.
Putting This in Practice
Pause and consider your strengths and weaknesses in the area of teaching God’s Design for Emotional Development and Sexuality. What do you think you can teach without a lot of external help? Put a date on the calendar to teach one of those subjects to your child!
Consider what subjects you feel the least equipped and ready to discuss with your child. This is where you can focus the most energy. Don’t lean on your own understanding in areas of weakness, leverage the insights and experience that others bring to the table.
A Personal Example
In my own work I know what I am best at and what I am weakest in. For example, I have more understanding of what adolescents need to discuss related to sexuality than younger kids. That is why—rather than trying to create resources for younger kids—I recommend resources from other authors and speakers. It is a better use of my time to focus on helping parents work with adolescents since that is what I am best at. I partner with others who specialize in working with younger kids. I use their resources, not what is in my own brain.
You've Got This!
There are things you are good at and need less help with. Perhaps you are naturally good at sharing your story and knowing innately when and what to share that will help your kids the most. However, just like me, there are areas that you feel less secure or qualified to assist your children with. Knowing your weaknesses or insecurities is very powerful, as that information points the way to what resources you should be looking for.
You only have so much energy. Invest in the topics you need most help with and feel free to be confident you can handle the rest on your own. You've got this!