About one-third of teens are unable to identify a talent, interest, or hobby that they are deeply passionate about. (Benson etal., 2009) Even once teens identify their passions, many don’t know how to develop them. Worse yet, about one in 5 teens indicate that someone has actively discouraged them from pursuing their passion or interest. In short, it seems that most teens could use a lot more support and guidance from us adults.
A) Fewer than half (48%) of 15-year-olds who are passionate about a particular talent/issue say that there is someone at school who encourages their interests. Only 43% say a coach, mentor, or other youth worker does; 29% say a religious leader does; and 16% say a neighbor does. (Benson et al., 2009)
Types of things that interest teens
B) Of those teens who say they have a passion about something, these passions include:
- Participating in sports, athletics, or other physical activities: 28%
- Participating in or leading art, dance, drama, music, writing, or other creative activities: 24%
- Using computers, electronics, or other types of technology: 15%
- Studying, reading, doing research, or other ways of learning: 7%
- Being in nature, caring for animals, or participating in outdoor recreation: 6%
- Doing religious or spiritual activities, or learning about religions or spirituality: 5%
- Being an entrepreneur, running a business, or inventing things: 3%
- Doing construction, architecture, or other types of mechanics or engineering: 3%
- Serving others, participating in politics, or working on social issues: 3%
- Teaching, leading others, or public speaking: 2%
- Other: 5%
(Source: Benson etal., 2009)
C) About one in five teens indicate that someone has actively discouraged them from pursuing their passion or interests. The most prevalent sources of discouragement:
- Parents (9%),
or other family members (9%),
- Teachers or other people at school (7%).
Fifty-six percent say others don’t encourage or support their interests. Fifty-five percent have been told to focus their energy elsewhere, 53% were told that their passions were a waste of time, and 34% were told they weren’t good enough. (Benson et al., 2009) I thin~ it’s safe to say, all teens could use a little more encouragement from us.