Four Steps To Help Your Teens Be Happier

by | Jan 27, 2018 | Helping Kids be Confident | 0 comments

  If your child is feeling insecure and unhappy, one of the most helpful things you can do is introduce them to their inner strengths and teach them how to use them. In schools around the world where this has been taught to students, researchers found significant benefits to overall well-being, higher positive emotion, greater classroom engagement and higher engagement in school overall. I always felt, when I was teaching this in schools, that students’ home environments could either reinforce these lessons or completely undermine them. Ideally, there would be a coordinated effort between school and home. But whether or not your children’s schools are teaching them how to leverage their inner strengths, YOU can.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Become Aware – help your children learn their strengths by taking the free online validated VIA Assessment of Character Strengths (youth version) or by exploring those strengths in my free booklet, “24 Ways to See the Best in Every Child.” (Please see the advantages of each below.) 
  2. Explore – Talk about the many positive ways their top strengths already show up in their lives. With your help, they should be able to find several examples at school, at home, with their friends and/or doing the things they enjoy.
  3. Apply – This is where things get really empowering. When your kids are struggling with something, help them see how they can apply one or more of their top strengths to the situation. Problems with friends? How could kindness, social intelligence or love help? A big assignment? How could they leverage their curiosity, creativity, teamwork or ability to envision an awesome outcome?
  4. Appreciate — I encourage parents to do a what-went-well-and-why practice with their kids. It’s like a gratitude practice on steroids, because after recalling something that went well during the day, you discuss why it went well — specifically what each of you did to make those good things happen. This raises the idea that each of us has the ability to affect what happens to us, and each person’s strengths inevitably come up again and again, reinforcing what makes them unique and capable.
Your children’s top strengths are inner resources they will never run out of. You can remind them of these positive qualities whenever you see them using one. To really be empowering, tell them you respect or admire the way they used it.

Advantages of the VIA Assessment and the 24 Ways Booklet

I adore VIA and have used it for years, and encourage you to take it too. The only drawbacks to using it with kids right away stem from the fact that VIA results are printed in a list, from one’s highest strengths to lowest. While I’d love everyone to focus on their top strengths and all the ways their lives are rich and full of possibility, the truth is that almost everyone — of any age — who gets their list for the first time skims over their top strengths and goes right to the bottom, where they fixate on their “weaknesses” and beat themselves up or dig right into shame. On the other hand, using my booklet allows them to explore all 24 strengths, which is a nice way to learn about all of them while self-selecting top strengths. You can also explain that everyone has access to all 24 strengths, and that we can use any of them when we need to. Our top strengths are just the ones that come to us most naturally. Later, if you want, take the VIA Assessment for confirmation or to get the awesome, optional report that you can purchase for just $10 for kids and $20 for adults.  
Questions? Ideas? Please let me know below!
sea1

Do you need kind, compassionate support to bounce back from a negative experience? If so, then get in touch with me now, and let’s make the most of your precious time, energy and love. 

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Kristen Carter

Kristen Carter, Certified coach, author, and breast cancer survivor. More

Absorbing Goodness

Absorbing Goodness

A couple of months ago, I got some great advice: “Take time to absorb the things that inspire you, rather than rushing to share them with other people.” The point my friend was trying to make is that while I’ve made a career out of helping other people love themselves...

Reclaiming the Flame

Reclaiming the Flame

I used to have a nice, bright-and-shiny life, at least from the outside. I had a great job title, education from good institutions, accolades from my bosses and peers, a good house, handsome husband, a son and a daughter, good friends, and good relationships with my...

Lost and Found

Lost and Found

On Friday, I lost one of my most cherished possessions: a necklace my husband, Charles, had designed for me with the help of a jeweler friend from South Africa. I wore it to a doctor’s appointment, then put it in my purse while I had a scan. When I went to retrieve it...

How to do Limbo

How to do Limbo

  One of my best friends from high school is alone at home recuperating from Covid. His wife, who has severe MS, is in a recovery center trying to get better with thinly-stretched medical care. (They were both vaccinated.) Another friend’s son is waiting to see...

Emerge Sparkly – My Plan to Help You Live Joyful and Inspired

Emerge Sparkly – My Plan to Help You Live Joyful and Inspired

Oh my gosh, I’ve been having the most blissful time cocooning. Actually, it’s been like being wrapped in a cozy blanket inside a bubble inside a cocoon. And like a little larva, I’ve been evolving inside it. I’ve been thinking deep thoughts. I’ve written thousands of...

Bounce back from a negative experience with renewed confidence, hope, and courage.

Explore what kind, compassionate support can feel like with a no-obligation conversation with me by phone or by Zoom.