When I say the words Talented Teens to people, the response is usually that I am talking about pushy parents and Precocious kids, to which I smile and say that actually, I am talking about parents and kids who work extremely hard.
I have interviewed many Talented Teens and their parents for my Talented Teen Radio Show and I have learnt a lot – mainly how important their parents are to them.
So here a few things I have learnt about Talent, Teens and Mums.
In this day and age we appear to associate talent and fame; we think of talent as singing, dancing, acting, all the things reality TV tells us that talent is. Go outside this realm and people don’t think anything else is talent – well at least the teens don’t! I have even had a few say to me that writing isn’t really a talent. Really? You try and write a novel and then tell me that! Also, we overlook people who have real talents that aren’t honoured as a society, like the talent to make quick decisions, the talent to build social networks, the talent to be innovative. I mean, would anyone think Mark Zuckerburg wasn’t talented now? No, but you can bet your bottom dollar his talent wasn’t recognised when he was younger. I personally find it quite upsetting when young people tell me that they are not talented when truly, everyone has a talent. Not everyone’s talent may make them famous and let’s face it, everyone with a talent may not be famous either, but we are all talented.
Do you recognise the talent in your child whether it is obvious or not?
People seem to think that Teenagers with talent are not afraid to shout about it, are stuck up, obnoxious and lucky. Let me tell you, they are anything but! They practice for hours and hours, often sacrificing their social lives. They generally work hard at school, the bargain they make with their parents for supporting them, and they take a lot of stick, often having to deal with negative comments at school, on-line, in fact everywhere they go. They are often lonely, isolated and ostracised by their peers until they get a bit of notoriety, then the whole world wants to know them! Pretty difficult things to put up with at such a tender age.
How are you helping your child create a positive network of people around them?
The parents of these teens are crucial, if not vital; in fact often they are the only real supporters in their lives. Pushy they are not, committed they are, often taking on the multiple role of taxi driver, manager, PR person, confidant, tutor, coach you name it. It is not easy to be a parent of these teens and not cheap either! They work hard for little rewards themselves, other than seeing their kids shine and let’s face it, who needs more than that? They make sure that their children keep to their end of the bargain; classes and tuition, practicing, doing well at school, etc. and they create what I would call a no-excuse environment, which I believe is a good thing. They are far from the demanding image, pushing reluctant children, as we are led to believe.
So all in all, what I have learnt is that we need to re-define talent and we need to support talented children, celebrate their success and acknowledge the hard work and commitment it takes to raise a talented teen.
Sarah is an author, speaker, consultant, creator of teenology and media expert and has shared her wisdom with millions through her TV and radio shows, writing and thought provoking talks. Sarah was hailed "The Supernanny for Teens" by TV Times.
See her articles, books and courses on at sarahnewton.com.