The inner spark lighting up one’s soul comes early in life for some. Then there are others who flounder around, searching for something that truly inspires them. For this latter group, it takes time and experimentation to get an inner glow going. Are you concerned about your tween as they watch their friends excel at an activity while they sit on the sidelines? There is something out there to motivate everyone. Your gentle guidance and encouragement can help them find their passion.
Have a chat
Make some time for a brainstorming discussion. It can be low-key and not so formal. Keep in mind, as invested in their well-being as you are, this is about your child and what they want, not your version of what they want. Ask if they are interested in a group activity or going solo? What appeals to them indoors or outdoors? A sport, musical instrument or art endeavor?
If you are hearing a bunch of ‘that’s not for me,’ then go beyond the obvious choices. Outside the norm could be where their answer lies. Ready yourself to be surprised and you likely won’t be. Learning how to build furniture, designing clothes or knowing every fact about every living creature swimming in the sea are valid interests. Helping others at community centres, animal shelters or local parks can be part of their choices. Whatever sparks interest in your child, be open about it. Let your child take the lead and decide on a few choices to explore.
Listen to what appeals to them and show your tween the possibilities. Search for demo days and free trial classes at art studios, gyms and ball parks. Look for places that incorporate your child’s interest by searching through apps, online instruction and local talent in your community. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. A brief introduction gives them what each activity entails, and it can eliminate something or become a must-do.
If your child is interested in a group sport, take them to see several different sporting events through their friends to give them the opportunity to see what this sport entails. This could be their answer, but it could be a tricky route. It’s easy to do what everyone else is doing. Each child is unique, so encourage your tween to focus on what truly interests them - not on a friend’s success.
Let the trial runs begin. If your kid jumps from one activity to another, don’t harp. It’s part of the exploring stage. Encourage your child to give it their best effort for a reasonable amount of time.
If you find your child is not taking an activity seriously and lacks enthusiasm, it is not for them. Talk with them about moving on to another choice. Once they find something that excites them, your kid will light up when they talk about it. You will know when something truly inspires them, your kid will thank you for taking them there and will be asking for more. Watch for the spark to ignite.
Cheer them on
When your child finds a passion, they will learn fast and feel good about themselves. Through your love and support, you are helping your tween boost their skill level and self-confidence. You never know where their spark will lead, so start lighting the match to your child’s passion.
Sara is a freelance writer and mother of two daughters.
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