Dear friends, I recently completed a year of doing my column “Parenting on Purpose” and I’ve written my last article, at least for now. It has been a wonderful year and I have very much appreciated your support! It has been so gratifying to hear from you, and answer questions you’ve had regarding the very important […]
It may seem evident that parents should allow their children to follow what excites them, but unfortunately, many parents place pressure on their kids to do anything but follow their passions. As parents, we sometimes fear our children’s choices.
In some cases, parents aren’t able to relate to what excites their children, or they may fear their kids won’t be able to support themselves properly in their chosen field. Other parents just have their hearts set on their kids following in their own footsteps or fulfilling a family dream.
Parents who feel tempted to push their children towards or away from something, should take a few minutes to check in with their Internal Guidance System (IGS) to help determine what their true motivations are.
When you spend a few minutes listening to your IGS, you may come to the realization that what you want for your children is really about you and not about them at all. Your IGS will help you to recognize when you’re helping guide your kids towards their passions and when you may be pushing them towards something else.
Often, your child’s interests or talents appear to be inherited. For example, it’s not uncommon for a parent with musical ability to discover their child’s skills are also in this area. These are often the easiest interests for parents to help foster, but inherited talent isn’t always the case either.
If a musically gifted parent was pushed into another field by their parents or perhaps was unsuccessful in their musical career, they may be tempted to steer their son or daughter to a more ‘realistic’ career choice, regardless of the child’s aptitude.
Parents whose children demonstrate an aptitude in an area they themselves were unskilled at may have a hard time understanding and supporting this interest. Even though their children are very talented athletes, the parents who felt uncoordinated growing up may try to direct the kids towards academia. Or the athletic parent may not be comfortable around their artistic offspring.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging kids to try new things. It is part of a parent’s responsibility to expose their children to various opportunities and even to ask them to be willing to try something brand new even if their child offers resistance.
Youth is the time to experiment, to gather information and experiences, and to have successes and failures. This is how your children learn about what they enjoy doing. Kids get plenty of opportunity having others tell them what they’re good at. It is more important to let kids figure out what they love to do. It can be so rewarding to watch kids in their process of discovery.
By paying attention to your children and encouraging them to use their IGS, you can help them fine-tune or broaden their interests; whichever is appropriate. When kids follow their passions, it’s amazing what can happen. This is how greatness is born.
This doesn’t mean that your budding mathematician will be the next Einstein or that the star of the elementary school play will be another Meryl Streep, but you never know. What we really want is for our children to be happy and fulfilled even if their path looks so very different from our own!
Please feel free to comment.
© 2015. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.