If I could give you one piece of parenting advice it’s this: be adaptable. One of the great gifts of parenting is watching our kids pursue their passion. Then watching them pursue their other passion. And then another one. And another one. Remember what I said about being adaptable? It’s key to maintaining your sanity while your kids grow, discover, and pursue any—and ALL—of their interests.
No, really, it’s such a gift. But it also involves some flexibility as they move from one interest to another in pursuit of what they truly care about. While our stereotypical new year resolutions are tossed out the window (after these last two years, I’m just keeping the goals to a bare minimum), I encourage you, fellow parents, to join me in resolving to support all of our kids’ talents and interests, no matter what they are.
Introduce your child to new things on a regular basis. Trying new things is the best way to get life experience and discover interests that your child never knew about.
Gift of Self-Discovery
I receive so many messages asking how Boss Baby Brody got into dance—when did you start taking him to classes? Why did you decide on dance? The truth is, Brody fell in love with dance on his own, without any outside influences. From the time he could walk, he was moving to the music. As we’d have music playing throughout the house, there he’d be dancing his heart out in the corner. Not for me, not for anyone but him. It was entirely his own self-discovery at work.
Of course, once he expressed interest, I asked him if he wanted to enroll in classes and it was a resounding yes. I think it’s important that we never push or tell our kids what hobbies or interests they pursue—just ask. When we support a dream or an interest, we encourage them to participate in that interest wholeheartedly and, as a result, invest in themselves and their journey with self-discovery.
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Keeping Up With the Hobbies
But just as I’ve learned it’s important to support and encourage that one interest, it’s also just as important to show as much enthusiasm when they’re wanting to try something else, too. When Brody started showing an interest in music and was really excited at the idea of trying piano, we enrolled him in both piano and songwriting lessons.
Did that mean he was done with dance? Not at all! But even if he decided to give it up tomorrow, the point is—it doesn’t matter! Embrace their interests at the moment, do what you can to help foster a space for learning, and just go with the flow! If I were to tell him he couldn’t take piano classes and push him to stick with dance only, I feel like I’d be putting him in a box. As our kids are growing and developing and exploring, I think it’s so worthwhile for us to take the pressure off and just let them be curious.
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Nurture Positivity and Avoid Judgment
Despite what we may think, kids can hear us and pick up on our moods. I encourage all of us to resist the urge to judge our children’s interests and, instead, embrace it from a place of positivity. Thinking, ‘I love baseball, why won’t my kid play baseball’ versus ‘hey, my kid is interested in video games, I’m going to learn all I can about it’ is the difference between your kid feeling the support and love from you, or not.
If it sounds like I’m coming off preachy, it’s only because I’ve seen the difference myself. There are so many societal pressures telling our kids what to do, what to wear, what to like, what to not like—it’s endless! As a mom, I’ve tried to create a space where my kids don’t have to deal with any of that. At home, whatever they like, I like, and whatever hobbies they want to try, I want to watch them do it. By nurturing their interests from a positive place, I feel like we’re giving them go-ahead to just be and to try this new thing—be it piano or dance or sports—without anything holding them back. And that’s a resolution I can get behind.
Younger children often grow out of the hobbies they establish early on. When your child is ready to quit, don’t pressure him or her to continue. Just be ready to help him or her find something new.