“I know exactly what I want to do. My parents just aren’t really cool with it…”
One of the teenagers who attended a presentation I gave at a high school last year raised her hand and started with this.
In fact, several of the students at the talk had questions related to pleasing their parents or worrying about their parents’ disapproval.
Clearly this is a big issue. I used to struggle with it myself, and have always wanted my parents to be proud of me (which thankfully they are, but I definitely used to worry about it a lot).
At the same time, I frequently get questions from parents who are amazing multipotentialites themselves and want to know how they can best support and encourage their multipotentialite children.
I think parents of multipotentialites can actively expose their kids to new subjects and ideas. They can get involved with their kids’ interests, share their own projects and passions with their kids and be a good role model. They can maybe even share some biographies of famous multipods like Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Maya Angelou, or historical figures like Leonardo Da Vinci, Ben Franklin and Galileo Galilei to give them a sense that they are not alone.
I think that the worst thing a parent can do is pressure their multipotentialite child to choose one career and commit to it. Instead, they should expose them to as many options as possible (without micromanaging and letting the kid take the lead as much as possible to encourage self-directedness), making it clear that it’s okay to change paths several times and demonstrating that they value exploration, curiosity and creativity.
My parents did quite a bit of this, and I still grew up with lot of anxiety around my multipotentiality. There’s just so much specialist glorification in our society. Kids don’t need to be getting it at home too.
I’m preparing for a presentation that I’ll be giving in Colorado at the end of January. Unlike most of my speaking engagements, where I speak directly to multipotentialites themselves, this talk is for parents. It’s being organized by an organization that works with the school district and it’s going to be an incredible opportunity to connect with 300 parents and potentially have a real impact on the lives of young multipotentialites.
I would love to get your take on this as I put together my talk.
What do parents need to know about raising multipotentialite children, and how can they best support their kids? What do you wish your parents had done differently?