By Rexanne Mancini
Consider that children who have an avid hobby or interest they are passionate about are more likely to spend their money, when they have their own stash of it, on that hobby or collection and not on drugs or other potentially harmful choices.
If your kids are busy after school at dance class, soccer practice, rock collecting or any other hobby or interest they find engaging, they won't have time to hang with the kids who have nothing better to do than experiment with drugs, gangs, alcohol or whatever else could get them into serious trouble. If your kids are intense about collecting paper clips, toe nail clippings or in love with little league, then encourage them ... help them develop their passion for a positive accomplishment. Teach them how great it can be to involve themselves in something that gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Help them through the rough spots when they can't get a dance step the first 10 tries by letting them know that, usually, nothing worthwhile comes easily. If their favorite collectable breaks, drag yourself through hell and back to find a replacement. This shows them you believe in their humble collection and you understand its value and importance in their life. They will learn to respect their unique passion and move forward into adulthood feeling good about the healthy choices they make to keep themselves occupied in their 'down' time. This type of positive reinforcement will also encourage them to spend their free time doing something other than hanging out with other bored individuals who are bound to try some type of inane activity just for the thrill of it.
You might even decide to get involved in 'collecting' or 'creating' yourself. Having a mutual hobby could create a bond worth its weight in super glue with your child.
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