How do we find what a child really loves?

What is a passion? 

Passion is what drives you to do something. Where does passion come from?

Passion develops over time through constant practice of skills and may lead to exceptional achievements. How can you find what your child really loves and is passionate about? What can you do to help your child discover their passions and nurture them? Every parent wants to encourage their child to find out what they love to do. Parents want their children to find a passion that will motivate them to work hard and will help them live a full life. But how can you help your child find that spark?

The world is a big place and you may be interested to guide your child along the path that you took, but it’s important for them to pursue things they are interested in. Resist the urge to tell your child to sidestep a certain path just because it’s something that doesn’t interest you. Observe your child and see what excites them, help them discover their strengths and passions.

Every parent wants their child to feel passionate about what they do, to pursue interests that fuel contentment and provide a sense of accomplishment. But what if your child’s passions aren’t obvious? Seek a positive, promising role model for your child. If your child shows strong fondness in a certain career path, help your child find an inspiring mentor in that field. A knowledgeable mentor can fuel your child’s career aspirations. Remind your child that the quest to find what they love is often a long process of self-discovery and experimenting. Be patient with your child and encourage them to keep learning more about themselves so they can keep growing into the amazing person they are meant to be.

In an effort to help your children find their passion, expose them to many different activities. Introduce them to various subjects, either in person or by reading books to them, to find what sparks their interest. Challenge your child by getting them out of their comfort zone to get them involved. Whether it’s sports, a service organization, a business club in school, nature walk for science or a field trip to the museum, encourage your child to spend time with inspiring peers. As your children are trying various activities, watch them carefully to see if it’s time to call it quits.

What if they seem to glide from one interest to another, but nothing really takes hold? When your children find something that they like encourage them to give it their all. Watch them and see what activities excite them, and guide them to explore the areas where their talents lie. Parents these days let their children try out all sorts of different activities in order to expose them to different experiences, which is a smart idea. If your children are never exposed to different activities, they’ll never know if something makes them happy or not. Talking to them can help you find what they are interested in, then see what can you do to help them learn more about it.

Support your child’s interests, even if you don’t understand them. According to Mageau & et al, “results show that children and teenagers whose environment supports their autonomy are more likely to develop a harmonious passion than an obsessive one. Conversely, children and teenagers who highly value activity specialization, who rely heavily on their activity for self‐definition, and whose parents highly value the activity are more likely to develop an obsessive passion.” For instance, if your child is obsessed with video games, then help them explore coding, 3D game design, or animation. Every activity has room for development and can lead to a life-long passion. What’s their ultimate end-game? Starting a social service organization? Publishing a book? Going to college on a tennis scholarship? Observe and encourage them for a content life.

What do you value more, your child’s journey or the outcome he/she may produce? Why should your child pick a career they love? If your child is interested in a career that doesn’t appear to line up with their natural strengths, you need not immediately rule out that option as a career. Instead, brainstorm how your child could bring their distinctive strengths or talents to that field. Their uncommon viewpoints in that field could allow them to make a very unique and valued contribution. It is necessary to guide and encourage your child in their quest to find and do work they love.

Parents can open the door to experiences and opportunities for their children. You can encourage your child to try different things and to always be curious about life. It’s great when children choose a career where their strengths and passions combine.

Reference:

  1. Mageau, G. A., Vallerand, R. J., Charest, J., Salvy, S. J., Lacaille, N., Bouffard, T., & Koestner, R. (2009). On the development of harmonious and obsessive passion: The role of autonomy support, activity specialization, and identification with the activity. Journal of Personality77(3), 601-646.

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