It can be challenging to see your children experience hardship or disappointment. You want them to be happy and to always feel like they are supported, but sometimes that’s not possible. When it comes to your children’s dreams and aspirations, you may not always be able to make them come true, but you can support them through the process.
What Are Aspirations?
Aspirations are dreams or goals that you hope to achieve in your lifetime. Sometimes, people use “aspirations” interchangeably with “goals.” However, there is a critical difference between the two. Goals are specific actions that we can take that will help us achieve our aspirations. For example, if your aspiration is to become a doctor, some of your goals might be to get good grades in school, participate in extracurricular activities like volunteering at the hospital, and attend college.
Why your child’s dreams matter
From the time you’re young, you’re always asked what you want to be when you grow up. For some people, it’s easy to answer. They know exactly what they want, and they have a plan to get there. For others, the question is harder. They might not have a specific answer to change their minds every few months. And that’s okay! It can be tough to figure out what you want to do with your life, but you must take the time to find an answer that feels right for you.
Your child’s aspirations are worth paying attention to because they can tell you much about what they value and how they see themselves. As children grow up, their aspirations will change and evolve as they learn more about themselves and their world. As a parent or guardian, you can help your child by encouraging them to explore their interests and supporting them as they make decisions about their future.
How can you help
As a parent, there are many things you can do to help your child identify and pursue their dreams. Here are a few suggestions:
Help them prepare
Preparation is key to achieving any goal, and it’s something you can help your child with. For example, if you have a high school child that wants to pursue fine arts in the future, consider enrolling them in a college prep academy that integrates art into the curriculum. This will help them get a feel for what college will be like and give them a head start on their future career. Or, if your child dreams of attending college, you can help them by researching schools and financial aid options.
Encourage Their Dreams
The first step is to encourage your child’s dreams. This means listening to what they say and telling them you think their dream is worth pursuing. Dreams can change over time, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you are there for them as they explore what they are passionate about. You can help them by providing resources or connections that may be helpful in the pursuit of their dream.
Be supportive without being pushy
It’s natural to want the best for our children, but it’s important to remember that, ultimately, it is their dream, not yours. It can be difficult to separate our hopes and expectations from those of our children, but it is important to try. Allow them the space to follow their own path.
Prepare Them for Disappointment
No matter how much we want our children to succeed, there will be times when they face disappointment. It is important to prepare them for this by teaching them how to deal with setbacks. Help them understand that not every dream will come true, but that doesn’t mean they should give up. There is value in the process of pursuing a dream, even if the outcome isn’t what was hoped for.
Acknowledge Their Feelings
It is also important to acknowledge your child’s feelings during these times. Let them know that it’s okay to feel sad or disappointed, but encourage them to keep going. Help them see the silver lining in every situation and remember that failure is not the end of the world. Remember that they look up to you and how you handle disappointment will shape how they deal with it in their own lives. With your support, they can get back up and try again.
The bottom line
It can be difficult watching our children face disappointment, but as parents, we can do our part to help them through tough times by being supportive and encouraging their dreams. Pursuing a dream takes courage and strength, two qualities that we hope our children will continue to display throughout their lives. Your support can make all the difference.