I have some really exciting news for you today. After nearly a year of research, a heck of a lot of writing and a few live presentations, I am ecstatic to announce that my new video guide, Supporting Multipotentialite Kids will be coming out next Wednesday, April 23!
I’m really proud of this and I can’t wait to share it with you. I think you’ll find it both educational and highly actionable. I will also be giving away 2 free copies of Supporting Multipotentialite Kids. More details at the bottom of this post.
In the video guide, I go over 10 strategies that you can use to support your multipotentialite child or teen. Today I would like to share 3 of these techniques with you.
3 Ways to Support a Child or Teen who has Many Interests and Curiosities
So, your kid is into a lot of different things. They’re into kite-building one week and making music videos the next. They’re also being pressured from their teachers and peers to pick one focus, but they can’t seem to settle on anything. They’re just too curious about too many areas.
You see this insatiable curiosity as a good thing, but you aren’t sure how best to support their projects or how to help them develop confidence when the world is trying to pigeonhole them.
You’re worried about their financial future too, and you don’t know whether you should be encoring them to jump around or stick with one path.
Here are 3 things you can do to support them so that they grow up to be confident, successful and happy multipotentialites.
1. Be Supportive, No Matter How Bizarre their Interests May Seem
At times, your child might become interested in some really weird things. (One of the parents I spoke with said that her son went through a phase where he thought he might like to become a ventriloquist one day… “Luckily, that passed,” she told me. ;)
But as long as they aren’t hurting anybody or doing anything illegal, simply bite your tongue and say, “sounds great, give it a try!”
I cannot stress how important this is. Your attitude toward their interests and projects will have a profound impact on their self-esteem and ability to pursue their goals as adults.
When I polled the Puttylike community about what they wish their parents had done differently, this was the answer that kept coming up again and again. Children notice how their parents react to their various interests.
When I was a teenager, I played guitar and sang in a punk band (we were called Frustrated Telephone Operator, in case you were wondering). My parents came to every single one of our shows. Now, to be honest, I didn’t always want them there… We were a punk band and we played at some dirty clubs, and like any self-respecting seventeen-year-old, I naturally felt a little embarrassed having mom and dad in the audience.
HOWEVER, looking back, it really means a lot to me that they always showed up, even though they may not have understood or even totally enjoyed our music.
My friend Jo was telling me about how when she was ten years old, she wrote her first “novel,” and her mom literally went out and had them printed and gave them out to the whole extended family. When you experience this kind of support as a child, you grow up feeling like you can do anything.
2. Actively Talk with Your Kid about How it’s Possible to Do Many Things
It’s important for multipotentialite kids to know that they aren’t alone and that nothing is wrong with them. What’s more, they should know that being a multipotentialite is GREAT and that there are plenty of incredibly successful multipotentialites out there.
You might expose them to biographies of famous multipotentialites throughout history; people like Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DiVinci, Maya Angelou or Richard Branson (my latest obsession is Charles and Ray Eames. If your kid is into design or architecture at all, you should absolutely look into them! James Franco did the voice-over for a documentary about them as well).
And on that note, you could also point out people in the media who have many projects that span disciplines, people like Pharell Williams, James Franco, Emma Watson, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson and Russell Simmons.
You could even point out people that they know in your family or in the community who have multiple passions, careers or projects. Perhaps there is someone that they can speak with directly.
It’s important for all kids to understand what a multipotentialite is, whether they end up being one or not. Even kids who grow up to be specialists will be working and interacting with multipotentialites, so it’s important that they understand what it means.
Finally, most multipotentialites experience a feeling of devastation when they realize that they can’t do everything under the sun because time is limited. It can feel very paralyzing and can make you not want to pursue anything at all, because you are afraid that you will have to commit to that one thing forever.
If you can teach your child that there is a vast middle ground between doing everything under the sun and doing just one thing, this will free them up to go out, make choices and pursue their passions. It is incredibly freeing to know that pursuing one thing doesn’t mean having to throw all other possibilities out the window.
3. Lead By Example
One of the most powerful things you can do to support your child is to let them see you engage with your various passions, even if they are just hobbies.
My parents are both professors, but growing up, I remember my mom playing the violin and taking art classes. I remember getting involved and painting with her in the kitchen on the weekends. My dad is a music professor, but he’s also a Scrabble champion who was always studying weird words and going to tournaments. He also played tennis and just recently finished writing his first novel.
Although my parents didn’t have multiple careers (they had pretty solid group hug jobs), they always had many different interests outside of their work. It was cool growing up in that kind of environment. It taught me that it is okay to be a lifelong learner and to take your interests seriously.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to try? Or is there an activity that you once loved, that you’ve let slide but would love to pick up again? Let your kid see you engage with different activities, and get them involved if they show interest.
These are just three of the ten techniques I discuss in Supporting Multipotentialite Kids. Like I mentioned above, the video guide will be out on Wednesday, April 23.
Win a Copy of Supporting Multipotentialite Kids
I am giving away 2 free copies of Supporting Multipotentialite Kids. Here’s how you can win. In the comments field below, please answer the following question(s):
Why do you need Supporting Multipotentialite Kids? How will it help you?
I’ll pick the two best answers and email the winners by Sunday night. Contest ends on Friday, April 18. Good luck!!