Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.
As soon as I found out Brianna and I were having a boy, I was over the moon! Of course, I would be happy with any healthy baby, but having a boy really excited me. I immediately started daydreaming about holding him, watching him grow, and sharing all that I know with him. But what if he isn’t interested in any of those things that I love? What if he takes up drawing, bowling, or something equally foreign to me? How will I feel about that?
For ages, parents from around the globe have encouraged their children to pursue the interests they themselves had growing up. In many cases, Johnny grows up to be a football enthusiast just like dad, and Jane blossoms into a ballet dancer just like her mom.
But it isn’t uncommon for children to go in a different, often polar opposite direction than their parents. That might disappoint you, but parenting must go on. Our licensed psychologists and mental health counselors in Tampa have some tips on how you can support your child even when he or she chooses a different path.
Keep This in Mind
So, you signed your child up for baseball or singing lessons and spent hundreds of dollars ensuring their success. The problem is, your child seems uninterested or refuses to take part in these activities. It’s important to realize that the things that resonate with you could be far from the things that resonate with your child.
On top of that, by planning all of your child’s extracurricular activities, there could be a chance that you’re over-scheduling and stressing them. This means your child can risk becoming exhausted and unable to explore their own interests, curiosities, and creative outlets. I actually did my senior thesis in college on this exact topic and learned that there is significant value in children having a say in how they spend their extracurricular time.
Ideally, you as a parent can help your child find their way into a variety of interests that can potentially become a passion. If you see their eyes light up when doing a specific activity, then there’s a chance they may have found one, and now it’s time to develop it.
Honing Their Skill
After your child has found an interest that they enjoy and excel at, it’s important that you help them to grow it. Practice is needed to hone a talent, and you can also encourage your child to take risks with it. After all, making mistakes opens the door to learning and improving.
This means that you need to show and teach your child that mistakes can be a good thing. However, some kids have a passion that they enjoy doing at their own pace in an unstructured way. They may not want to take lessons or be forced to practice.
Sometimes it makes sense just to let kids learn and explore on their own. One nifty trick is determining which passions to support with teams, classes, lessons, coaching, and tournaments, and which to allow kids to develop on their own.
Praise can be a determining factor in your child’s success, but it’s important to use the right form of praise. According to Dr. Michele Borba, author and internationally-recognized educational psychologist, studies show that praising your child’s effort and not their natural ability is the way to go.
Praising your child’s abilities could potentially steer their focus too much toward success at the expense of avoiding failure, resulting in them avoiding taking necessary risks that could further develop their talents.
Rice Psychology Group Can Help
To summarize, the steps you can take to support your child’s talents are:
- Helping them find their chosen outlets and paying attention to their strengths and interests.
- Ensuring that you encourage the activities they enjoy, helping them focus on practice, and offering proper praise.
If you are having trouble helping your child with their challenging situations, know that Rice Psychology Group is here to help. We are ready to listen to your story, evaluate every detail, and help you find the best solution possible. For more information, contact us in Tampa today.