Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Parents, Hobbies and Children

Parent and Child working on model

Many parents like to see their children involved with hobbies, particularly productive hobbies that result in more than a high score on the latest video game. We get lots of parents who bring their kids in to browse, hoping for magic to strike and for the child to walk out of the door with a brand new hobby. We try our best to help, but it doesn't usually go quite that smoothly! Keep the following in mind when shopping for a hobby:

Hobbies are Hereditary

You cannot pick someone else's hobby, but you can infect them with one! The best way to give your child a hobby is to have one yourself. Your child may pick your hobby if they are interested in closer bonding with a parent, or they may pick a different hobby if they are looking for a way to express their own individuality. Either way, your example will tell your child it is OK to have a hobby of their own.

Support Your Child's Hobby

That doesn't mean just giving them hobby money, and it doesn't necessarily require you to actively participate in the actual hobby. But it might mean building shelves to display their finished car models, hanging airplane models from the ceiling with fishing line, listening while they describe an esoteric painting trick, or driving them to an early morning Sunday tournament at the local store.

Hobbies are Not Chores

It's not a hobby if you have to make them do it. "You're going to play Warhammer and like it!" is not really going to help.

Also, let your child continue to choose their hobbies. Helping your child schedule their time to enable the hobby is one thing, being a strict taskmaster about a leisure time activity is something completely different.

Children Do Not Fail At Hobbies

Children almost inevitably go through several hobbies. Don't be discouraged if a hobby doesn't last. It doesn't mean there is something wrong with your kid, and it doesn't mean the hobby is worthless. All it really means is that the hobby wasn't a match for the child's current needs. There are plenty of other hobbies to try. Stay optimistic that the next one will be a lifetime activity.

Hobby Interruptus

Even if your child drops a hobby, it may only be temporary. We often see 30-somethings returning to the hobbies they enjoyed in college or high school, after they have established their careers and family life.

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