Do you Have an Apathetic Teen?
o you have a teenager who has no interests or passions?
No real interests that is….
No interests other than gaming… (and getting to the next phase in the latest video game)…?
Or, no passions other than You Tube viewing… (and watching influencers chat non-stop about make up and hairstyle trends)…?
Getting to know one’s interests and passions is an important part of planning for life after high school.
Awareness of one’s interests and passions is key to making smart choices for the future.
Most kids have interests. It’s just a matter of recognizing them.
Help your kids figure them out!
So your child likes video games? Maybe encourage an interest in computer technology. Suggest a summer camp offering video game coding.
Or your child has an obsession with make up products and hairstyles? Try exposing your child to visual arts camps, or theatre workshops in which costume, hair, and make up design comprise some of the program.
Notice your child’s natural preferences. Look for the things that motivate and inspire your child, naturally.
When you do, take this as a lead to find opportunities to expose your child to more of it! Hopefully, more interest can develop, and eventually deepen.
How can you help your child or teen discover her interests?
Talk to your kids. What do they like to do? What do they dislike? Who do they admire? What do they dream about doing in their life?
Talk with them about people in the news, or neighbours and relatives — people who live interesting lives and who pursue admirable passions.
Expose them to different places. Go out in your city, your hometown, and travel to other places. Visit many destinations! See the landmarks, parks, cultural and sports events, and try unique restaurants.
Give your child autonomy during their middle school and high school years. Kids needs to make their own choices about what they like, in order for it to be a passion later in life. Stop interfering.
Encourage your kids to:
Experiment with different activities. Try stuff! Your kids will learn more about what they like and dislike if they can get actual experience.
Explore a few different interests up to the end of middle school. And then, narrow down to one or two interests in high school, narrowing even further as graduation approaches.
Quit things they don’t like or have outgrown. No sense wasting time, energy, and money on something that isn’t interesting anymore.
Develop their interest in something in which they find enjoyment. Be patient and see what happens. Developing a deeper interest can take time.
Take an Interests Inventory, and even a Personality Assessment. Self-assessment tools reveal many clues about what makes a person tick, and in which areas he will find joy and success. I can help with this ( – so contact me if you want to dig deeper through self-assessments and educational strategizing!)
Seek out people who share these interests, and spend time with them. Birds of a feather (who flock together) will support the development and deepening interests.
Learn about the “culture” of the interest or passion. Who are the people who love this activity also? What clubs and programs are available at school and in the neighbourhood? What is local, or even long-distance? Read about it. Learn as much as you can about it.
Find a mentor who can guide them in this area, and be a positive support and role model.
When you’re trying to get your tween or teen away from screens and into the real world — participating — encourage them, explore with them, and then let them take it away!
I confess I have a teenaged son who’s obsessed with trendy video games. If left unattended, he can kill an entire weekend with a game controller in his hands. And, my teenaged daughter can follow her favourite “beauty You Tubers” for hours on end. This is my reality.
But, their interests in these screen activities are okay with me. In moderation!
I’m okay with it because my kids have other passions also. Passions that get them outside of the house and off the screens, with friends in real life, with physical activity and discipline — and many other skill and character-building side effects.