From the moment our kids are born, we tend to place them in pigeonholes. We tend to expect them to behave in a way that is socially desirable, we tend to want them to dress the way we consider normal and we want them to aspire to careers that sound good to you. A lot of it is unintentionally so… we’re just wired to find some things acceptable and other things undesirable. So we create these pigeonholes—be it gender roles, or confinements presented by the education system. But in doing so, we bury their imaginations and their latent talents in favor of ones that fit in society.
We’re saying you need to empower your kids. Inspire them so that they can grow up to become whoever they want to be. Their ambitions and imagination should not be confined by social constructs. There are a few things you can do to make this happen…
Don’t Impose Your Ideas of Correctness
Parents have been known to suppress their child’s freedom of expression in many ways. For example, when your child is younger, you teach them to color inside the lines or to color the way things are supposed to be. Grass is to be green. Sky is to be blue. Hair is to be blonde or brunette. Anything that does not abide by our understanding of the world is deemed wrong. A child’s imagination goes beyond all conventional understanding—do not be afraid of that. So what if they decide to color the hair on their drawing green? Don’t put a stopper on their creativity.
Let Them Express Themselves through Clothes
Let your children decide what they are going to wear—even when they are toddlers. Give them that freedom of expression they need to convey who they really are. That’s how they show their individuality. For example, you might think a cardigan and jeans are a sensible choice for your daughter to wear to school, but she might be more interested in wearing something that makes her stand out—something sparkly or unique. As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, what’s the harm in letting them be their own person through what they wear?
Let Them Try Lots of Things
Kids are fickle. When they are younger, they tend to go through lots of phases. They’d watch the latest Star Wars movie and then for a month they’d go through their sci-fi phase. They might read something cool about science and decide that they want to grow up to be a scientist… that is until they score a pretty impressive basket for their team and decide their true calling is actually in basketball. The point is, kids will try lots of different things and careers. They might find things they don’t like. They might find things they like. This is all part of self-discovery. Do not pressure them into choosing a singular path right away.
The most important thing that you can do as a parent is to nurture their talents. Encourage their latest obsessions, regardless of how profitable its prospects may be career wise. Because if they truly have a passion for what they do, they will make a career out of it. And they’d fare way better than those that decided they need to go the sensible way and find themselves stuck in an office cubicle living a life without passion.