This sign, and many others like it, are popping up in arenas, ball fields and all over the internet lately. It’s an important statement; a  reflection of our times, which shows that as adults we take things far too seriously when it comes to our children and their recreational activities.

This is not to say that when a child shows a natural, undeniable, special talent that as parents we should not nurture and support our child to develop these skills to their full potential. But what if that child doesn’t want to pursue the activity further or, in many cases, does not possess the raw-talent needed to achieve fame and fortune?

Parents walk a thin line between nurturing and pushing our children too far. Are we are encouraging a certain activity, hobby or sport because of our child’s genuine interest, or is it rooted in our own desire, dreams and interest in living vicariously through them? No matter what our child’s talent, it’s important to ensure that they are living their dream, not ours. “We’ve lived life and had the chance to dream,” says Andrea Hecht, a parent and educator who was quoted in a Parents Canada article “My kid’s got talent: Nurturing or pushing too far.”  “As parents, it’s up to us to help our children pursue the best path for them without looking at our own needs. It’s important to nurture their strengths, but your children have to be a partner in the journey or it becomes a negative experience.”

We found these great tips to nurture your child’s talents from Lara @lalakme at OverStuffedLife.com. We’ve listed the topics, below –click here to read her full post.

 

5 ways to nurture your child’s talents:

  1. Encourage them to read as much as possible
  2. Give them lots of opportunities to try new things
  3. Say yes whenever possible
  4. Allow them unsupervised play time
  5. Don’t pigeonhole them

 

Coaching from the sidelines

In this world of Dance Moms and Hockey Parents ‘coaching’ from the sidelines, it is important to recognize that our kids are not pro-level athletes or world-renowned artists. They are young, and are learning, developing and gaining confidence in themselves.  As adults it’s important to keep that innocent love of sport or art alive, not to kill it with our booing or slamming of other players, or their parents.

As young kids ourselves (not “that” long ago) we did something because it was FUN, not because it was ‘good for our future’. That’s why we puree vegetables and hide them in the pasta sauce right?! As a parent we know the valuable life lessons our kids gain from taking part in sports, piano lessons or voice coaching – it teaches them discipline, respect, patience, self-confidence – all things that will help them to hone their special talents. Who knows? Their dream of becoming a ballerina just may happen.

 

Praise efforts by saying “Well done!”

Daniel Coyle (@danielcoyle), author of the Little Book of Talent, suggests that parents praise their kids for their efforts and not just for their abilities. “When you praise kids for their abilities, you diminish their willingness to take risk — after all, we’re status-oriented creatures, and why would anyone who’s been labeled “talented” risk their status? When you praise kids for their efforts, on the other hand, you increase their willingness to take risk, to fail, and thus to learn. One useful phrase to use in praising kids is to say,” Well done!”  It conveys appreciation, without calling anybody a genius.” Read more of Daniel’s tips for How To Nurture Talent Without Being A Psycho Parent here.

Of course we all want our kids to reach for the stars and achieve their biggest dreams, let’s just not forget whose dreams they are and remember that most times having  fun is more important than being number one.

bottom image

Recent Posts