Being involved in your child’s interests is extremely important. You can do this by encouraging your child to talk about their interest. This will keep you in the loop, make it easier for your child to open up to you. Some things are only relevant to certain age groups.
It was hard for me at first to talk about the things I liked with my mom. It took a lot of reassurance that my mom was supportive of what I liked and wasn’t going to tell me that I should do more productive things with my time. When I was a teen, I just needed acceptance and love because I was struggling to figure out who I was and how I could fit in with my peers. It was extra hard because I didn’t have friends who shared my interests until I was a junior in high school.
Another way to get involved is to do things with your child. If your child likes video games, play a 2 player game with them, or let them teach you how to play. If they like to read, read to them if they are young. If they are older you can read a book they really liked so that you can talk to them about the book. If your child is an artist, you can watch them draw, sculpt, etc. You can ask them to make something for you. I love telling my mom all about what I’ve been reading. We have very different tastes in books, so it is an act of patience and love on her part that she listens to me ramble. I think the reason that my mom and I have such a good relationship is because she is a good listener.
My third suggestion is to take your child to an event related to their interest, like an art class, or a renaissance fair, or an anime convention. It is so exciting to go to a special event. Don’t just wait for your child to tell you about an event they want to go to, go ahead and look for one on your own. Tweens and younger may not be very aware of the events that are in their interest area. I personally only started going to events in my interest areas when I was in college. Mostly it was because I was nervous to ask my parents to go when I was a teen and a little because I didn’t know there were all these things that I could go and do. I go to lots of conventions now, like the World Steam Expo, where people can dress up in Victorian/ Steampunk attire and there are informative panels about dirigibles, corsets and making your own hats. I also was introduced to ‘steampunk’ music by Abney Park and Steam Powered Giraffe. Going to these events actually broadened my interest in steampunk that had started out as a facination in steampunk clothing. Now because of this convention I know more about the history, costumery, music, art and literature of the steampunk subculture. Oh and so you know my mom took me to my first Renaissance Fair when I was in highschool. We drove 3 hours to get there and had a great time.
I will be writing more posts that deal with specific interests and the types of things that you could do with your kids.