So how can parents inspire their children without over-scheduling them? How can we avoid unwittingly pressuring them? What is the most healthy way to go about helping children find their passions?
I asked Joani Geltman, an expert in the field of Child Development and parenting to weigh in. Geltman has also raised a successful, healthy and happy daughter. She is an actress who just appeared on Broadway and has three movies out. Geltman explains that she did not push her daughter, she only supported what her daughter wanted to do. They started out small, she says “it was not sophisticated at all.” Geltman says if you want your children to find their passions and succeed it has to happen in a “natural way.”
Here are some tips from Geltman:
-Many parents bring their own interests and passions in support of family life, only steering their kids in the direction they see. Understand that when they are young “they will go in the direction you want them to go in.” You have to pay attention to what makes them happy. Parents can’t navigate everything.”
-For really small children, it’s simple. Watch them play. What are your children doing during undirected play? Put things out and take a big step back. Follow your kids’ lead, recognize what their talents are, what they want to do. In elementary school, listen to them. They will tell you what they like if you’re willing to hear it. When it comes to teens, if you don’t step back, they will go in the opposite direction you are promoting.
-Allow your child to be your child. If he is a high energy person, then let him be busy. If he is not, then just let him be.
-Introduce your children to many things. “It’s like taking them to a buffet.” But do not over schedule, it’s all about balance.
-Sit back to watch and listen- pay attention to his/her nature, your nature may be different.
-Make your kid feel understood.
-Remember too, that someone’s passion doesn’t always have to have an end result, a passion can be simply for enjoyment.
Joani Geltman is an expert in the field of Child Development and parenting. She has been working with parents, children, schools, and companies for over 30 years. Ms. Geltman has developed a number of seminars especially designed for parents of teenagers on understanding their teen’s cognitive and emotional and social development. Adolescent Psychology-The Parent Version, and Sexting, Texting, Drinking And Drugs are two that are in great demand at schools and community groups all over New England.