Writer | Mother
Ah, the burden of expectations. We all grew up with them. Our parents wanted you to have good grades, right? Your mom really had a specific profession envisioned for you. My mom stopped me from becoming a journalist because she never liked journalists. She made me pursue her own dream, and I am still dealing with anger because of that fact.
When you think about it, every parent has expectations. Every single one! We want our kids to be successful, kind, and happy. When those general expectations are narrowed down to specifics, however, we have a problem. We’re practically preventing our kids from finding and pursuing their passions.
If we allow them to make their own choices without giving direction, however, they might get lost among the opportunities. Elementary school, high school, and even college education is too general. Our kids are doing their best to get good grades in everything, and they can’t really focus on one thing they really love.
As a parent, you have a responsibility to help your kids find their passion. However, you have to do that without imposing your own expectations. There’s a thin line between being supportive and being pushy.
Let’s get to the specifics, shall we? Here are few effective tips on how to encourage your kids to find their passion without being pushy:
My kid loves playing the piano. I did not force that passion at all. In fact, I was really bothered to see her spending her entire free time with the piano. She did not want to go play outside. She didn’t want to study, either; she just wanted to spend time with her music. At one point, I tried to put a limit. “Piano on weekends only!” was the new rule in the house. And she became so disappointed that she did not want to play the piano anymore, even when the weekends came.
It was a mistake. I quickly realized it. My daughter had a huge passion and instead of supporting it, I tried to pull her away from it. Now, we have a new rule in the house: she can play the piano whenever she wants, as long as homework and studying are done. She comes home from school and the first thing she does is homework. Then, she’s the boss of her free time.
You don’t have to try really hard to help your kids find their passion. They will find it as long as you let them be. From that point, it’s your responsibility to support it.
2. Let Them Explore
You have expectations. Don’t try to deny it. It’s okay! It’s only natural for the parent to expect things from the kid. If the passion your kid has does not fit into your expectations, however, you’ll have to make a choice. You’ll either let the kid explore and develop that passion, or you’ll force them in another direction.
Do not force the kid! You have to realize that this is an entirely unique person, with different points of view. They develop their character from a very early age. You can be a good influence, but you must not stop them from pursuing their passion.
Even if you really don’t like what your kid is up to, just let them explore. Kids easily get bored. Maybe they will get bored of this activity, but that will happen only when they are allowed to explore it.
3. Do Not Judge
If you think about it, you’ve probably seen a father who was obsessed with baseball and pushed his son to reach the Little League. Maybe you know a mother who was a ballerina, and now is forcing her daughter to achieve the dreams she wasn’t able to reach. If you can’t think of such an example, see Black Swan!
When the parent has such big dreams for their kid, they judge any interest that doesn’t fit into that big picture. Maybe your kid simply wants to stay home and build Lego castles. Don’t judge that choice. When kids are being judged by their parents, their self-esteem suffers the consequences… for a lifetime!
It’s important to give your kids some space to develop their individuality. Don’t worry; they will do just fine without you pushing them through life. You may still influence with a good advice, but you must never limit their options and prevent them from pursuing their passions.
About Olivia Ryan
Olivia is an incurable optimist who always sees the glass as half-full. She likes nature, knows how to enjoy silence and is keen on writing for various websites as well as for Aussie writing service. Meet her on Twitter.