Don’t Ignore Your Child’s Special Gifts,
But Don’t Go Overboard Either!
By: Krystal W. Abbott
Objectively speaking, can your child sing, dance, act, or write? Are they any good at football, volleyball, basketball, swimming, track or athletic in any sport? Are they articulate, verbal or opinionated? Are they analytical, strong in math, the sciences or in engineering? If so, as a parent, you must take note that those gifts exist and nurture them.
Also, as a parent, it is so hard to notice the special qualities of your children.
I mean, we are so busy clothing them, feeding them, running them around, keeping up with the academic piece, enforcing rules and order in the household, monitoring what is going on socially with the boys and girls traversing in and out of their lives . . . How the heck can we be expected to pay attention to whether or not they are potentially REALLY GOOD at something?? Well, it’s not easy.
There are so many activities you can put your kid into that there is no way they can sample every single sport, activity, instrument, etc. to see what they will gravitate toward. Here is some advice as to how to start this gift seeking process:
* Put your kid in a small variety of recreational activities sponsored by your local gym, YMCA or recreational center. These are 6 - 8 week programs that will run you between $75.00 to $150.00. You can get an idea from enrolling them into these types of programs what your kid likes and what they have some potential in being good at.
* Don’t make your kid stick with anything for more than a year if they don’t like what you have them in. You need to show them not to just give up on things before they give it a chance, but at the same time you don’t want to keep them in an activity that they are miserable in and that you are paying good money for. A year is long enough! If it is a real struggle and there is crying and drama before it is time to get them to the activity all of the time, then cut it to 6 months. You just don’t want your kid getting in the habit of trying something for two minutes and then giving up on it as soon as it gets difficult or boring. No activity no matter how much your kid loves it is not fun and exciting all of the time!
* Ask your kids what they would like to do.
* Pay attention to what your kids do without being prompted (i.e., singing around the house, shooting hoops, writing stories, reading, playing chess or other games, etc.) Clearly, they like doing those activities and typically they can be parlayed into some type of organized activity.
Once you identify what your kid likes to do and what they are good at, support them on it. Find opportunities for them to get better at their craft or sport. Do what you can to encourage them, guide them and help them to be confident about their new undertaking.
And always remember that it is THEIR activity and what THEY like to do . . . NOT yours and what you want them to do.