Feel like your teen’s talents involve mess-making and monosyllabic communication?
I meet so many parents, carers and teachers who face challenges when talking to teens about their future plans, career choices and options at school.
These conversations can bring up challenges such as:
- They have no idea what they want to do
- The ideal life plan is so specific they’re unwilling to look at other options
- They want something, but there is an obstacle that feels too challenging (e.g. requiring a grade in a specific subject they struggle with)
- They are unwilling to talk and want you to leave them alone/stop interfering.
The problem is that adults often can see so much potential and talent in the teen, but the teen can’t see it for themselves.
So, how can you help your teen nurture their talents and increase their potential– without being too pushy?
1. Encourage Downtime
During unstructured time, children and teens have the freedom to explore.
They have the headspace to pursue their interests or look into new ideas.
So often, parents want to support their child with extra-curricular activities and a bustling schedule to keep them on track.
However, this can stifle potential, unexpected opportunities. In fact, it may be that going off-track can open up new avenues.
Even if your teen’s first downtime response is to switch on the Xbox or check TikTok, look at what they gain from that – are they learning new things, trying to overcome challenges or exploring new interests?
2. Why Are They Giving Up?
It is common for children to go through phases with their hobbies.
However, if they’ve recently given up on a hobby they once loved, it can be helpful to explore the reasons why.
When teens give up a hobby, they may feel like they’re letting their parents down.
Similarly, you may feel annoyed if you’ve invested your time and money into something they no longer want to do.
It’s important to tread carefully in this situation to avoid conflict.
Could it be that they’ve plateaued or struggling to progress?
Perhaps lessons are now unengaging? Maybe they’re struggling to dedicate the time to it with their other commitments?
It might be that your teen hasn’t given up, but they don’t know how to progress if they’ve hit a block.
If your teen is struggling to talk about this to you, they may feel more comfortable opening up to someone neutral, like a coach.
If this would help your teen, you can book a free consultation here.
3. Hand Over Control
Teens can often resist nurturing, even if it’s in their best interest, simply because they don’t have control.
This doesn’t mean you have to let go completely but changing your approach to an advisor rather than a manager may help.
Being interested and offering options or support but letting your teen take control can be a great way to nurture talents without being pushy.
Your teen may value your advice as you talk about the transferable skills they have or the lessons or groups they could join.
But letting them make the final decision will make sure they feel in control of their own life, and it could help them feel more committed too.
Remember, advise don’t decide.
4. Definition: Success
Another common challenge with nurturing talents comes when teens and adults have different versions of success.
For example, your definition of success may be a black belt in Karate, whereas your child’s definition of success could be to win a match or achieve a grading.
To help you better understand how to nurture your child’s talents, it’s vital to understand exactly what they want to achieve.
They could be doing something simply to have fun, because they want to reach a certain level, or see it as essential for their dream job.
Remember, not all talents need to be pushed further, but getting clear on what your teen’s version of success looks like can help make sure you’re both on the same page and working towards the same goal.
5. Inspire and Excite!
A growth mindset is something I talk a lot about and came up in my latest email (you can subscribe here).
As adults influencing a child’s life, we have a fantastic opportunity to provide inspiration that could have long-term effects.
So, even if your child is reluctant to home in on any talents or make future choices, you can help them build the self-belief that anything is possible.
Helping your child realise it’s never too late, that skills are transferable, or their potential is limitless can help them to feel confident and excited about the future they are creating.
If you need any help in supporting your child to flourish, Flourished Minds is here to help.
Our sole purpose is to help children and young adults to live their best lives, and nurturing talent is a fantastic place to start.
To find out more, you can book a free consultation here.