Tweens & Teens
Bullies & Cyber Bullying
Behavior Problems
Classroom-Student Behavior
Extracurricular Activities
Internet & Technology
Kids Health & Safety
Parenting Styles & Skills
Peer Pressure
Positive Discipline
Sibling Rivalry
Sleepovers & Bedtime

Talent Development

For every Michael Jackson, Alex Rodriguez, and Magic Johnson whose parents pushed them toward success, there are untold numbers of talented kids whose parents' efforts pushed them away. You might create a star by pushing, but chances are you'll scare or stress the star right out of them instead. By the time they're 10 or so, some children have discovered the talents and skills that will help them attain success and happiness. But for most successful people, the interests, personality traits, and maturity needed for success were developed over a long period of time. So be patient with the potential you see.

Exploring and Identifying Talents and Skills

The first step to helping your child develop skills and talents is identifying them. What's the spark that ignites them? Every child has a sport or sports team, a teacher, a subject, a hobby, an activity that they need little invitation to talk about. Listen and ask leading questions to identify just what it is about the topic that captures their interest.

Commitment: Being firm and flexible

Your child needs to understand the importance of commitment and sticking with the activities she chooses. But because of the rapid changes in her brain, don't' be surprised if, as she ages, she drops activities she may have participated in for years. You can't force a child to enjoy an activity, and your pressure may end up making her hate it. If it's meant to be, chances are she'll rediscover her passion for it later.

Practice Makes Perfect

You can, and should, insist that she find a replacement activity. Not only does this empower your child to choose something new, it lessens the chance she'll lapse into doing nothing. Promote the importance of practice as a responsibility that comes with the decision to participate in an activity. Privileges, such as computer time, need to be contingent on first meeting that responsibility.

Helping your kids find their talents will always be challenging. Try not to judge or criticize their talent / creations; instead ask your children to critique their own work and accept that judgment. Show interest in your child's interests and praise her accomplishments. You can and should be your child's biggest fan.