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What to do when your child has different interests than yours

 Instead of imposing your preferences on your child, make suggestions on activities they can take part in (Photo: Shutterstock)

Parents play a big role in shaping their children’s character. Most times you find that you share similar traits. They tend to dress the way you dress, speak like you, even handle issues as you do. However, when it comes to things that capture their interest, it’s not uncommon to find parents and children clashing. 

Perhaps your daughter likes playing dress-up while you’d prefer football or video games. This can be a difficult situation to handle because it pushes you out of your comfort zone. Some parents automatically go into defensive mode, going as far as forcing their kids to pursue activities that they are not interested in simply because you think that they should do this and not that. While this might work for you, it will most likely result in misery on the part of your child. They won’t fully commit to these activities and can end up resenting you.

Observe them

My mother always tells me to pick my battles when it comes to handling my daughter. I didn’t see the wisdom of these words until I noticed that if I wasn’t careful, my daughter and I would clash even about the minutest of things.

Instead of imposing your preferences on your child, make suggestions on activities they can take part in. If your suggestions don’t strike a chord with them, watch them. You will notice things that make them happy, activities that they are excited to take part in. These are the ones you should encourage them to take part in instead of fighting with them for not having similar interests to yours. My daughter likes baking but I always find excuses to steer away from flour mixtures. I noticed this because she would happily help her auntie whenever she was baking and more than once she would ask me to join them. I now encourage her to join her auntie in the kitchen. 

Show your support

Taking part in activities that you don’t have an interest in but this is very important for your child. Once you have an idea of activities that they enjoy, take part when they ask you to even if it’s the last thing you would want to do. Think of it as an opportunity to bond with your child and make good memories at the same time. 

 Join your child even if you would rather do something else (Photo: Shutterstock)

Go even further as to seek out opportunities where they can pursue their interests. These can be in the form of clubs, extracurricular activities in school, or even getting them a coach. Providing the tools they need is also a way of showing support.

Too many interests

Some children have many interests, too many that they have a difficult time choosing which ones to pursue. Help them to choose the ones they prefer and reassure them that it’s okay to let go of the others. Trying to squeeze in all the activities they love can leave your child feeling overwhelmed and stressed.

Avoid guilt-tripping 

Even though your child is a mini-you, they are a unique individual. Thus, it’s okay for them to have different interests than yours. Avoid making them feel guilty for not liking the same things that you do. Be a supportive parent and allow them to find their way and develop their individuality.

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