Just like you did, your children have hopes and dreams of being someone special someday. Whether it’s an artist, musician, a doctor or even a racecar driver, kids have a vivid imagination and might think these are unattainable goals. However, there are ways you can gently push them towards their dreams without being overbearing.
If your child seems to be gravitating towards a certain pastime, whether it’s dance, piano, or athletic pursuits, then it’s up to you to guide them along the path. Here are seven ways you can help your children reach their goals and figure out what they really love in life…
1. Take One Step at a Time
Your kids may see pictures in magazines of someone they aspire to be like, but it’s important to remind them that those successful individuals likely went through a lot of work before reaching hero status.
Help your kids understand this by emphasizing that each step on their path to success is significant, and they don’t have to be a pro at anything overnight. The important thing is that they have an interest, and are excited about achieving something.
2. Get the Entire Family Involved
PBS Parents notes that making a “family plan” towards reaching goals can be effective. This involves supporting each other towards specific achievements, so no one feels like they’re taking on a big task alone.
This could include something as simple as driving your child to the hockey rink and cheering them on. Each child can have completely different interests, but learning to support each other can bring the family together without making it a competition between siblings, noted PBS.
3. Let them Be Free
Psychology Today says a parenting mistake in the modern age is “passion pushing”, which is identifying one of your child’s passions and then putting all efforts towards that one endeavor. You should “zoom out” and see the big picture of all areas of interest your child may gravitate to, notes the source.
The article notes that children should be given the time and space to explore on their own, so they develop an understanding whether they want to pursue a particular path. Let them make mistakes, and if they still want to continue (if it’s realistic), then be an encourager.
4. Don’t Push them Too Hard
Parents magazine explains that although working hard is a virtue when it comes to achieving goals, some parents take this idea too far and push their kids so hard they lose interest. Sports in particular are an example used in the article.
It notes that parents often look down the road to athletic scholarships and even Olympic competition, which can end up being too much for a child and lead to injury or burnout. Make sure your kid is still having fun while playing the sport (they are a kid, after all) and that you let them play more than one sport if they’re inclined.
5. Pair Talents with Causes
Canadian Living magazine notes you can gently guide your child towards a passionate endeavor by helping them identify practical applications for their natural skills. For example, this article from Canadian Living magazine suggests that a “child who is innately good at picking up on language might help a new immigrant settle in their community”.
Using their skills to further a cause or help others can boost self-confidence and show your young one the positive impact of their efforts. It’s important to recognize that everyone is gifted in some way, whether it’s great listening skills or artistic flair, added the source.
6. Create a Safe Space for Creating
Psych Central said your child’s imagination is hard to contain, so you should create a space for them to play out their dreams. This could be a designated corner of the living room where your child can build with blocks, or even dress up in your old clothes, noted the article.
The bottom line is that you don’t need to build an addition on the house for your child to have a suitable area for exploring their passions. Letting them have space and outfitting it with some items that they seem to take an interest in can go a long way.
7. Don’t Steal their Excitement
It’s difficult as a parent not to get excited when your child does something great, like hit a home run during a baseball game. However, Parents magazine warns you that you should be careful not to overshadow their enjoyment with your own.
Also, regardless of what path your child is on, it’s important to emphasize the rewards of the journey and not just the destination. Praise their growth, not just when they achieve a particular goal such as winning a competition, added the source.