What is it you love to do? Are you passionate about a sport, hobby, career or music? As parents, we want our kids to love the same things we do. We want them to experience the same joy we experience. Is there a way to make this happen? Can we teach our children to share our passion for something?
It’s likely that you know someone with his/her own passion who has been unable to get his/her kids involved. Maybe the child refuses to try. Or maybe the child participates, and even excels, at something the parents love, but doesn’t really feel any passion for it him/herself. The child might only participate because he/she has been pressured into it or feels it’s one way to get attention and praise.
That’s not what we want for our children. We expose them to the sport or hobby we are passionate about with good intentions: to share our excitement and joy with them. We long for them to feel the same enthusiasm that we do. We want them to incorporate this into their lives as they grow into adulthood. And naturally, we want them to excel at it, to go beyond the limits we reached ourselves.
We cultivate in our children a love for something by making it fun for them. We can do this by ensuring that there’s no pressure to perform or excel in competition. We can help them enjoy the learning process and teach them it’s okay to make mistakes. We should allow kids to experience our hobby the way that they naturally do, even though this might not necessarily be our way. It’s important to put aside your own agenda and goals. Really notice what your kids are experiencing and respond:
- Is your child relaxed and laughing? Great, continue.
- Is your child getting stressed or tense? Ask them what help they need and do your best to give it to them.
- Does your child need a break? Then, by all means, take a break! This is not a race or competition.
Your goal at this early stage isn’t to develop her/him into a world class athlete or musician. Your goal is to grow your child’s love for this activity.
If teaching your child has been challenging at times, hire someone else to teach him/her. Enroll your child in a class or program with other children the same age. You don’t have to be the teacher, you only have to expose your child to it and make it a fun experience.
To make things fun for your children, you must also be connected with them. When I say connect with your child, I’m talking about sharing in his/her small accomplishments with enthusiasm, not criticism. Don’t focus on what needs to be done differently. You want them to feel happy, curious, and eager to try. Here’s how to connect with your child’s learning experience:
- Notice and comment on times your child is trying his/her best.
- Give praise when a task is performed correctly.
- Do the activity yourself so you can model how much happiness this brings you.
- Attend and watch practices and performance.
- Don’t check email while you are there.
- Don’t just drop off and pick up.
Showing interest in your child’s learning experience will show him/her your love for this endeavor and will also show your love for him/her.
To learn how to grow your child’s interests without pushing them too hard, schedule an appointment here at Couples Therapy Center. Call 908-246-3074, email email@example.com