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Give Kids Space to Develop Passions

Give Kids Some Space to Develop PassionsBack off helicopter moms and dads.

A new study has found children and young adults are more likely to pursue sports, music or other pastimes when given an opportunity to nurture their own passion.

Université de Montréal researcher Geneviève Mageau performed a three-part study assessing if parental control would predict whether a child develops a harmonious or obsessive passion for a hobby.

Published in the latest Journal of Personality, the study was a collaboration with scientists from the Université de Montréal, the Université du Québec à Montreal and McGill University.

“We found that controlling adults can foster obsessive passion in their children by teaching them that social approval can only be obtained through excellence,” says Dr. Mageau.

“An activity then becomes highly important for self-protective reasons that don’t necessarily correspond with a child’s true desires.”

From children to adults

As part of the study, the research team evaluated 588 musicians and athletes from swimmers to skiers. Participants were between six and 38 years old and practiced hobbies at different levels: beginner, intermediate and expert.

Kids were recruited from high school or specialized summer camps, while adults were recruited at training camps and competitions. The scientific team used a Likert-type scale to measure how parents supported child autonomy and to evaluate child well-being regarding hobbies.

While parents do well to support their children to pursue an activity, such encouragement can graduate to unwelcome pressure.

“Children and teenagers who are allowed to be autonomous are more likely to actively engage in their activity over time,” says Dr. Mageau.

“Being passionate should not be viewed as a personality trait – it is a special relationship one develops with an activity.”

Source: University of Montreal

Give Kids Space to Develop Passions

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2016). Give Kids Space to Develop Passions. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2010/02/04/give-kids-space-to-develop-passions/11183.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jul 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 Jul 2016
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.