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Dealing with your child’s spark when it’s not the same as yours

The key to helping your child find their purpose is not to push them in one direction but to open them up to as many possibilities as you can.

Teenage boy practices guitar

For your child to discover and nurture their spark, they need room to find their own thing. As a parent, it can be hard when the thing your child wants to do is not what you had in mind for them or is something that does not interest you. Yet the key to helping your child find their purpose is not to push them in one direction but to open them up to as many possibilities as you can.

Expand their possibilities

When you push your child in one direction with the hope they will love something as much as you do, you risk denying them the opportunity to work out what really makes them tick. By resisting the urge to make them follow the same path as you, you open up far more possibilities about what life has to offer. And supporting your child to discover their spark and nurture it in a positive way, can make them stronger and help them in many parts of their life including their education.

Avoid judgement

When it comes to encouraging your kids to find their spark, avoiding judgement is key. When your child feels judged by you, they feel rejected by the one person who is supposed to love them no matter what. By giving them the freedom to pave their own way and find the things that spark their interest, you are helping them build their confidence and become stronger. With your support, their spark can help them stick with their learning and set them up for greater success in life.

Help them become independent

When you support your child’s spark, you are teaching them to be independent. Supporting their spark gives your child a dream that is their thing, not yours. This can help them feel in charge of their own life and better able to make some decisions for themselves. Building their independence will give them a valuable skill they will need to succeed at school and in their life after they leave school.

Explore where your feelings are coming from

If you find yourself feeling negative about your child’s spark, take a moment to consider why you feel the way you do. You may be concerned because your child wants to spend their time doing something unsafe or foolhardy. In this situation, you are absolutely right to be concerned and convey this to your child. However, if you find yourself objecting to something where there are no safety or wellbeing concerns, it could be worth delving a little deeper. Are you worried about your child’s future financial stability? Are you concerned that pursuing their spark could require travel and take them far away from you? Whatever it is, understanding why you feel the way you do will help you overcome your fears and give your child the support they need to nurture their spark.

Seek support from a trusted adult

If you are finding it hard to support your child’s spark, perhaps someone in your family or circle of friends who shares your child’s spark may be willing to help? If there is someone, talk to them about your child and ask them to help you nurture your child’s interest or talent. Such a trusted adult could spend time with your child doing the activity your child loves to do or put your child in touch with a person or organisation who could help them develop their talent or interest. You don’t have to do this on your own so ask for help if you need it from people you can trust.

Last Updated: 30 September 2020