Why do some kids thrive amidst challenging conditions at home? In the book Coming of Age in the Other America, researchers Stefanie DeLuca, Susan Clampet-Lundquist, and Kathryn Edin found that one of the reasons some kids pushed past their circumstances and managed to graduate high school and college was something called an identity project, a hobby or passion some are lucky enough to have found and get immersed in.
What the finding suggests is that having a purpose, mission or inspiration helps us succeed and overcome obstacles. So what can we do – or not do - as parents to help our kids discover their passions and nurture them? The tips we’ve pulled from expert insights surprisingly consist of doing less not more.
As parents we all feel pressure to raise successful kids, but putting too much pressure on your child to be the best can mean missed opportunities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in sports. Why do 70 percent of kids quit organized sports by the time they’re 13 years old, just around the age when they can benefit from sports the most? According to a poll from the National Alliance for Youth Sports, the competitive and selective nature of sports has left kids feeing like “it’s not fun anymore.”
Be sensitive to whether or not your well-intentioned hovering might be suffocating your child, choking the growth of a passion from taking root. A pressure-less exploration is the best way to uncover a passion. Putting too much pressure on your child can even make them quit an already discovered passion. The balance between enough support and not too much pressure is a tough one. But you can keep parental pressure in check by asking this question: What do you value more, your child’s journey or the outcome he may produce?
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