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Stay Home Dad Survival Tip #28 – Finding and Developing Your Child’s Gift
One of the most challenging aspects of parenting can be dealing with your child’s interests. As your child gets older, he will begin to show characteristics that are indicators of what his interests are. I believe that everyone is created for a purpose and our job as parents is to guide our children in the direction that will best help them develop into who they are meant to be, find their destiny.
Every child has a different interest and way of expressing it. In my house there is an aspiring music producer, a born journalist, an athlete and an artist. Talk to your child or children; ask them what things interest them. I find that usually by age 10 or 11, most kids have a general idea of what they want to do. The easiest way to find out is to ask yourself a question like this: “If you could do anything in the world that you wanted to, it wasn’t evil or illegal, and you got paid to do it, and it was fun. …what would you do?” By middle school, your child has an idea of what he really likes. Find out what that activity or interest is, and find activities around you that you can use to develop that interest.
There are tons of things that can be purchased at thrift stores or obtained for free. My 13 year old boy wants to be an animator. I was able to find an older version of Adobe Flash for it from Craigslist – for free. There’s no need to spend $600 on the latest version of software when you can get cheaper results with a little searching. I also found a weight bench at a thrift store for under $30.00 for my 18 year old while he was practicing for soccer. For my budding music producer, I found an old keyboard that someone was going to throw away and asked for it. All that was needed were batteries. Now the kids have taught themselves how to be resourceful and search for items that can be easily downloaded or viewed online for free.
I know it can be pretty hectic, running around from dance classes to art to little league and soccer practice to music lessons, etc., so some strategic planning is necessary if you have multiple kids, especially if you’re single. parent. Find other parents nearby whose children attend the same activities and share the load.
Most importantly, you need to be interested and supportive. You cannot decide for your child what his gift or talent is. You can’t pressure them into what you want their gift to be or downplay what they want to do. There is nothing more frustrating than taking out your frustrated desires and accomplishments on your child. I know there are a lot of men (and women too) who really like sports, but just because you have a son or daughter who may have a great athletic build, you can’t force athletics on your child. He might not want to do it. Don’t take your frustration out on your child for not getting what you wanted on the field. You might have the next business tycoon or president of the United States. It’s not about what you want them to do to look good and show off; it’s about what they want to do…what they were made to do. In fact, you should brag because they are your children. If your son wants to be a dancer and you play for the NFL…so what. Let him do it. He’s not you. He is a product of you, but he is NOT you.
I have spoken to many parents who struggle with this. Just because you have an Olympic gold medal or a Super Bowl ring doesn’t mean your child should do the same. For example, President George Bush’s daughter Laura liked to read books and wanted to be a teacher. She had no desire to be a lawyer. Her parents supported her.
Our children do not necessarily do what we do because they are not us. But we can influence them positively and with our support they will be successful in everything they do. You have to do this because you never want your children to feel that they are letting you down with their career choices.
A child who becomes an adult and feels unfulfilled because they sought your dreams instead of their own will be very frustrated as adults. A child whose dreams are crushed and disgusted will find that adult life is more challenging than it should be. I wanted to be a fashion designer. I was invited and visited by representatives of a prestigious design college, but they laughed at me and discouraged me. I was told, “Such things are for sissies.”
Let your child show and teach you what his interest is, support him 100%. Communicate with your children and come up with a game plan early to ensure your children’s success.
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