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Your Family Strengths: Encouragement

Members of strong families feel they really belong in their family. Family members feel accepted for what they are and promote one another's self-esteem. They celebrate each other's successes and help each other learn from mistakes.

Strong families spend time together, but also give their members privacy. For example, family members encourage one another to become involved in individual hobbies, extracurricular activities, and relationships outside the family. Activities outside the family help foster the development of skills and maturity needed to be self-sufficient. All family members are given the opportunity to develop their own identity as a unique and separate person.

There are many ways to foster encouragement at home:

Discovering Talents. Consider holding a family night to help family members discover their gifts or talents. Help them understand that a major purpose for talents is to benefit others, as well as for our own enjoyment. On a sheet of paper, have family members list things they feel they are good at. Children frequently list obvious talents such as music or athletics. Help them be aware that skills such as listening and being compassionate are also talents that should be celebrated and that can be developed. Look for these hidden talents in your children and point them out.

Encourage family members to develop their talents. Have them select a talent they would like to work on during a specified period of time. Provide opportunities for all to share their talents inside and outside the home.

"Strength Bombardment." During a family night, take turns sharing with each other the positive traits that make each family member special. Focusing on assets and strengths helps build feelings of self- and family worth.

Encouraging Words. Sometimes life gets rough and we need all the encouragement we can get. An encouraging word from a family member can really come in handy.

Put the words on sticky notes or on 3 x 5 cards you have cut in half. Tuck or stick them in places where they can be found, such as on bathroom mirrors, or in lunch sacks, briefcases, and shirt pockets.

Homework and Hobby Connections. Set aside time to help children with homework or other projects they are involved in, such as learning a new craft.

Sharing Talents in the Community. Attend activities where family members are sharing their talents, such as music recitals and school plays.



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