Supporting Multipotentialite Kids is Coming Out Next Week (Here’s a Sneak Peak + Contest!)
Photo courtesy of David Prasad.

Supporting Multipotentialite Kids is Coming Out Next Week (Here’s a Sneak Peak + Contest!)

Written by Emilie

Topics: Parents

Hey Multipods!

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!!

17 Comments

  1. Professor Plum says:

    Hi Emilie!
    I hope to win a copy of your awesome new book because I TEACH PUTTYPEEPS!!!!
    Yes, I am a Gifted Facilitator with a range of weird and wonderful adolescents in my care. Just picture every known intellectual archetype from DaVinci to Sheldon Cooper. Yep, that’s my crowd!
    Your book will empower me to buck the educational system, currently run by monopotentialites (aka Digital Immigrants, aka Baby Boomers and Generation X Yuppies–oh, wait, that’s ME…). Naa, I’m a closet PuttyPeep!
    I want my students to celebrate and cultivate their spastic interests because that is TRULY what preparing them for the 21st Century entails. No more one-size-fits-NONE for MY students!
    Kids, let your Freak Flag FLY!!!

  2. Yvonne says:

    I’m so glad I found your website (via Michelle Ward), I’m so much more relaxed about being into “everything.” I teach and encourage my children that to try out everything, and more importantly, that it’s really okay to change your mind.

    Thank you!

  3. Rach says:

    I would like “Supporting Multipotentialite Kids” for several reasons. First of all, I am a multipotentialite. I am currently finishing up highschool and am homeschooled. My parents don’t totally understand why I have a ton of interests, and I have really struggled in the past with not being able to decide or focus on one career or possibility. I think “Supporting Multipotentialite Kids” would really be helpful for me to understand myself more. Also, I believe it would be exceedingly helpful and encouraging to my parents who are my primary teachers.

    I am learning that this is not some sort of disease and that it is ok to not have one career focus or main interest.

    Thanks for all that you do!

  4. Shanna Mann says:

    I don’t want to enter because I don’t know any kids at the moment, but I just wanted to say, not only were my parents totally supportive, we didn’t have a lot of money for activities when I was growing up. So my mom took the time to SHOW me how you go about making money for the things you want to do: checking out government resources, applying for scholarships, and earning the money by sharing with people what you’re saving for. The support was invaluable, of course, but the skill of bootstrapping your way into whatever you want to do, is what I feel really set me up for success.

    I’m so happy that you’re showing parents how to manage kids that can be confusing to the specialist crowd. Great job!

  5. Karen says:

    It’s brilliant that your parents were so supportive of your many interests.

    I’ve a small niece whose ambition is to be: a doctor, an astronaut, an illustrator and a ballet dancer. Her parents keep emphasising that she can do any combination of jobs – that she can do each of these things AT THE SAME TIME. At only 8, she’s deeply sceptical of this because the rest of the world tells her that it’s just not so. She’s a highly sensitive soul, and is – and here I see myself reflected in her – very driven to conform to the wishes of the adults around her to get validation. I believe that this is partly due to a long-term school bullying situation she’s been removed from, and partly because the world is very confusing for a gifted (and she is greatly gifted) multipotentialite.

    As a family, we’ve racked our brains for more effective ways to support her in growing her confidence and convincing her that having lots of interests is important. Getting our hot little mitts on the video would be A Big Deal.

  6. Julie says:

    Hi, Emilie. I’d love to receive a copy of the book! As the parent of a multipotentialite kiddo, I could really use more tools, insights, and support to help me nurture and encourage my daughter’s many interests and foster her creativity. A multipotentialite myself, it took me years of therapy, stacks of books, and half a dozen career shifts to finally get to a place of self understanding and acceptance. I want to be the best mom I can be to my daughter and teach her to embrace her curiosity and learn to love herself just as she is.

  7. Fia Porter says:

    I’m staring down 50, and all my life, I gobbled up achievements in various fields–for all the wrong reasons. I was trying to be good enough, to prove that I was a desirable child, to be loved in a way that was missing.

    When I was 40, I found a partner with whom I wanted to parent (a first!), and by 41, I was a mother. Again, I did my best: took a long hiatus and breastfed on demand until self-weaning (3 years and change!!); we practiced attachment parenting; we introduced a second language in preschool (selected after an exhaustive search to find the intersection of “the best preschool” and feasibility); we’ve done fencing, swimming, karate, basketball, chess, robotics, computer coding, art, photography, continuous maths tutoring–you name it.

    Our child feels no pressure to excel in order to be loved. Thank goodness there’s a competitive streak that motivates. And two multipotentialite parents for example.

    Now our child is 7 with an intersectional interest in what is essentially robotics/ AI engineering. We know to realistically give our child a shot at doing that for a living, multipotentiality is essential, as the requirements are excellence in: maths, computer coding and architecture, electrical and mechanical engineering, analytical reasoning and very refined creativity.

    We would love to get a free copy of “Supporting Multipotentialite Kids” because 1) every penny counts with all the outside-school learning we finance, 2) while knowing what optimal parenting involves with ravenous neonates, things get pretty fuzzy by age 7, and 3) our child deserves our continued best efforts, and we will use the information in “Supporting Multipotentialite Kids” to help our child flower into the sui generis individual that animates that wonderful little 7 year-old body!

    Thanks for your consideration.

  8. Diana says:

    I appreciate the tip that there is a great middle ground between doing all things and just one thing. My 10 yr. old daughter has a hard time with the fact that there are so many wonderful activities to try, yet she needs a fair amount of unscheduled down time. My husband and I have been trying to tell her “you can’t do it all.” After reading your post, I am going to change my message to “you can’t do it all at once, but you probably can try lots of things over time.” Thanks!

  9. Hal B. Rager says:

    I would like a copy of your book because my 12 year old son who has Asperger’s (HFA) and identified as gifted & talented could well be the poster child for multipotentialites. I very strongly suspect his parents are as well. No surprise, our circle of friends and acquaintances either are, or their kids are multipotentialites. So we all need some structure and guidance here, it might as well begin with me. Thanks for writing your book…

  10. I would like a cope of “Supporting Multipotentialite Kids” to better support my son as he struggles to pin-point a college major. He is frustrated with his many talents and interests because the world is forcing him to choose just one – and then he is frustrated with the world that is making him choose just one! I would like to support him in this time as well as maximize his potential in his own eyes as well as have him embrace his gifts. He is coming home after a year of college feeling dejected and a failure – this book comes at a great time – and I am looking forward to connecting him with Puttylike Tribe over the summer.

    Keep up the great work, Emilie!

  11. Dallas says:

    Hey Emili!

    Thanks so much for sharing you! I am a newbie to the Putty Like tribe (Thanks Michelle Ward!!) and soaking it up! You are the voice I needed growing up and still need. I found mine the hard way and work with young people and their support networks helping them to streamline the process. So everyone can be authentic and feel good about that without jumping through all the needless hoops I did and so many of us do. I would LOVE to win a copy of Supporting Multipotentialite Kids so I can share more of the love. Thanks for sharing all your greatness!

  12. Michael says:

    I would love to win a copy of your new book. For one thing, I have a daughter who is also a multipod, and in fact, probably better at it than I am. It would be great to be able to give her useful advice on living the rainbow life.

    It is also my passion to learn everything I can about living as a Multipotentialite (I call us Multipassionate) so I can share it with others. It’s my way of making the world a better place.

    And, it would fit in well with the reading I’ve been doing of Ronald Fredrickson’s research in the 1970s, dealing with recognizing and assisting multipotential youth. His insights are useful, but dated, so this material would be very handy.

  13. I go by the name Renmeleon, short for The Renaissance Chameleon; a fancier way of saying jack-of-all-trades. I’m a disabled homeschool mom and rely on my abilities as a multipeep in my freelance work. My daughter is about to turn 13 and gets frustrated with other family members telling her she needs to focus on one thing.

    She’s 12 and very talented in a number of areas. She has time to solidify her goals and I want her to explore and hone herself, accepting that she is a multipotentialite like her mom, which makes get happy, and realize that she’s not alone and that it’s a very doable thing.

    Thank you for putting this together. I sat in on your broadcast and it’s helped me tremendously.

  14. Sharon says:

    Hey there. I’m am a multi-pod, married to a multi-pod, Unschooling two multi-podlets. Learning about my own multipotential nature has helped me de-program so many tired, old messages about life and work and learning. A book like this, with insight and support for multipotentiate kids, would be even more helpful, and connect with our world every single day.

    Congratulations on the book. It’s a wonderful idea.

  15. Emilie says:

    Thanks everyone for entering! I loved reading through your comments. This is going to be a very hard decision for me! I’ll notify the winners by the end of the weekend. :)

  16. Hi Emily, this is so exciting that you have put this resource together for parents and kids. How many of these brilliant kids are labeled ADHD each and everyday because the are different!! Keep up the great work you do. I know that last year during a very low point in my career, I came into contact with you and it changed my life. I am confident that this work will give many families hope and choices they didn’t previously have.

    Hugs, Nancy

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