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Stay Home Dad Survival Tip #28 – Finding and Developing Your Child’s Gift
One of the more challenging aspects of parenting is dealing with your child’s interests. As your child grows, he or she will begin to exhibit traits that are indicative of their interests. I believe that everyone was created for a purpose and as parents our job is to guide our children in the direction that will best help them find their destiny, who they are meant to be.
Every child has different interests and ways of expressing them. There are budding music producers, natural born journalists, athletes and artists in my house. Talk to your child or children; Ask them what interests them. I find that by about age 10 or 11, most kids have a general idea of what they would like to do. The easiest way to find this out is to ask the question: “If you could do anything in the world that you wanted to do that didn’t make sense or be against the law, and get paid to do it, and it would be fun. …what would you do?” By the middle school years, your child has an idea of what he or she really likes. Find out what this activity or interest is and find activities in your area that you can use to develop this interest.
There are many things that can be purchased at thrift stores or obtained for free. My 13 year old son wants to be an animator. I was able to find an older version of Adobe Flash for him on Craigslist – for free. There’s no need to spend $600 for the latest version of software, when a little searching can yield cheaper results. I found a weight bench for under $30.00 at a thrift store for my 18 year old son when he was weight training for football. For my budding music producer, I found an old keyboard that someone was about to throw away and ordered it. All it needed was a battery. Now, children have learned how to be resourceful themselves and find things that can be easily downloaded or viewed on the Internet at no cost.
I know everything from dance class to art, Little League and Pee-wee football practice, music lessons, etc. Running up to can be very hectic, so some strategic planning is required if you have multiple children, especially if you are single. Find other parents in the parenting area whose children attend the same activities and share the load.
Above all, you need to be interested and supported. You cannot decide for your child what his gifts or talents are. You can’t push them into what they want their gift to be or limit what they want to do. There is nothing more frustrating than dumping your frustrated desires and accomplishments on your child. I know there are many men (and women too) who really love sports, but just because you have a son or daughter who has an athletic build, you can’t force athletics on your child. He or she doesn’t want to do that. Don’t take your frustrations out on your child for not accomplishing what you wanted in sports. You could be the next business mogul or president of the United States. It’s not about what you want them to do so you can look good and brag; What they want to do… what they were created to do. In fact, you should brag because they are your children. If your kid wants to be a dancer and you play for the NFL….so what. Let him do it. it’s not you It is your product but it is not yours.
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 has to. For example, President George Bush’s daughter Laura loved to read books and wanted to be a school teacher. She did not want to be a lawyer. Her parents supported her.
Our children will not do what we do because they are not us. But we can influence them positively and with our support they will succeed in whatever they do. You need to do this because you don’t want your kids to feel like they’re letting you down because of their career choices.
A child who becomes an adult feels incomplete because they discovered your dreams instead of their own. A child whose dreams are thwarted and frustrated will find adult life 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 was laughed at and let down. I get “that kind of stuff is for sissies.”
Let your child show and teach you what interests them, support them 100%. Communicate with your children and create a game plan early to insure your children’s success.
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