How to help your teen develop their interests and find their passion
As parents, we all want our teens to succeed and find fulfillment in their lives. One crucial aspect of this is helping them discover their interests and passions. Having a passion not only provides a sense of purpose, but it can also lead to academic and career success.
Developing their passions
What’s great about this is that it could cover anything, be exclusively focused on something your child enjoys, and may even be completely outside the mainstream. The point here is: does your child have a passion for anything? It may seem a strange passion, it may not be a passion a future employer shares, or it could be something totally conventional.
Typical hobbies might include reading, football, gaming, vlogging but less usual hobbies might include stand up comedy, candle making, puppetry, pet sitting, stone skipping or rapping. Does their hobby result in them meeting and communicating with new people (whether online or in person?), learning a new skill, competing in teams, getting creative or being extremely time efficient? These are all excellent transferable skills that are central to helping your child stand out from others.
Of course, it’s not always true, but it is rather nice if your child’s hobby takes them offline for a little bit too!
Join a society, club or group
Developing passions can often be easier in a group setting, as it allows for a shared experience and meaningful discussion afterwards. Schools can be a great resource for providing opportunities for students to learn new things outside of the academic curriculum, and participating in these activities is a simple way for your child to get involved. With everything already arranged and organized, all your child has to do is show up and engage in the experience.
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Joining any club has benefits
Some clubs may be connected to their subject interests or future aspirations. This will help them find out whether they really do love a particular subject (or future career idea) and widen how they experience it and what they know about it.
Other clubs may have no connection at all but will provide the chance to try something new and learn more about an area that may not be covered either at school or at home (such as a science fiction club or comic club).
Whatever club they choose to join, they’re all beneficial in some way or another because they support personal development. Clubs cover anything (and more), from specialist art, board games, debating, drama, enterprise group, fashion, Model United Nations, quizzing, sports or stretch and challenge.
Joining a club is a great way to show passion for a subject and commitment (if they attend over a regular period of time).
Start a new society, club or group
Your child may have an interest or passion in something that isn’t catered for via the school. If there is a local club they can join to enjoy this hobby, that’s fantastic and it will give them something to discuss that most of their peers haven’t experienced.
If there isn’t a club, setting one up shows initiative, organisational ability and good communication skills – as well as creating an outlet for your child to express their passion. Get your child to speak with a relevant member of staff at their school about starting a group or club in their school, or alternatively you might want to help them set one up outside of school by providing a space in your house at weekends or after school.
It’s also a great way of introducing possible lifelong hobbies that are good for their physical and mental wellbeing, as well as giving them ways to meet new people with similar interests throughout their life, no matter where they’re based in the world later on. If they move to a different town (or even country) – perhaps to follow a chosen career path, it could help them settle into a strange town by giving them a straightforward way to connect and meet new friends, both inside and outside the workplace.
Inspiring ways for your teen to stand out from others
If you’d like to know how your teen can build their character, develop skills, stand out from others and improve their chances of success at interviews, all while doing things they enjoy, read our suggestions in The Parents’ Guide to Standing out from the crowd. It includes sections on:
Self-development and increasing confidence;
Getting work experience (including virtual placements);
Benefits of research and how to take a different approach;
How different hobbies impact mental and physical health;
Which hobbies hone different transferrable skills
Recommendations for non-curricular online courses