Meredith Reynolds - Head Start College Blog

Archive for November, 2007

“I wish my teen were interested in something…”
November 8th, 2007

As parents we all cherish those rare moments watching our child do something they truly love. However, more common is to worry over a child who seems without interests either inside or outside of school. To follow are five suggestions for parents wanting to support their child’s discovery and exploration of individual interests. For most, passions are nurtured over time, not found overnight.

1. “Why” Respond to most (if not all) statements with this three letter word.

  • Don’t be surprised if at first you don’t get an answer.
  • Be patient. Reflecting on the “Why” of issues is a skill that requires practice.
  • Even more challenging can be expressing the “Why”.

  1. “Who?” Set as overriding goal for your teen/young adult the exploration of who they are.

o Remind yourself that if you truly believe every child is different, why do we judge them all by the same standards and ask them to all do the same things.

o Listen and watch your teen/young adult to see both large and small clues that might lead to the discovery of an interest, and later perhaps a passion.

  1. “What?” Continuously encourage your teen/young adult to evaluate their classes, organized and unorganized activities in terms of “why” they like/dislike them and how that relates to “who” they are and/or might aspire to be.

o Facilitate exploration of “new” interests both academic/ nonacademic

o Suggests avenues to pursue identified interests

o Provide teen/young adult with factual consequences of proposed decisions

o Celebrate the “trying”. Lessons learned are the key (both positive and negative).

  1. Develop personal self-confidence/independence in your teen/young adult.

o When your teen/young adult makes a decision based on thoughtful consideration of the “why/who/what” for him/her, support that decision whole-heartedly.

o Encourage your teen to participate in activities away from familiar places or people giving them opportunities to practice making new friends and adjusting to new places. Gradually increase time and distance from comfort zone.

  1. Exploration of post-secondary academic/career alternatives should be seamlessly added throughout high school years following the same “Why/Who/What” process.

END GAME: If the process is working the parent will gradually be replaced as the leader of the self-exploration process. However, the mutually respectful dialogue will have become a central part of your relationship with your child and will continue on into their adult life as they maneuver through the working world and starting their own family and all each entails.

Perhaps most important for the entire family, the Head Start College program paces students to complete their applications by Thanksgiving.

MEREDITH REYNOLDS

PO Box 1401
La Canada, CA 91012
818.952.2414 phone
818.952.2432 fax

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