Whether you have a family of just the two of you or one whose numbers may be mistaken for a basketball team, each of you probably have different personal interests. This is great, but you may be faced with a disconnection on how to support an interest of a family member that – well – simply doesn’t interest you in the least. There are some simple ways that I have found helpful that support the interests of my family members even when I just don’t get their fascination with it.
One of the biggest culprits of mothers just not connecting with kids, or even a husband, is the subject of video games. A family member may spend hours plopped in front of a television or computer, and have social media circles and websites that are visited daily that are dedicated to his love for games. You don’t have to understand the absolute details of what a game is about in order to support their interest.
Get involved by asking about his online accomplishments. Don’t worry that you don’t have a clue as to what a game lobby is, why clan wars are so dramatic or how evil “spawn killers” are and how all this relates to your loved one’s emotional bond to a game. Opening the door for them to talk about the achievements they made or some of the frustrations they face is showing support even if the last video game you touched was a Pacman machine in 1985. Just let them talk it out to someone, like you, who won’t judge, feel the need to offer an opinion or to fix it for them. Be that gentle shoulder of support.
Competitive sports often carry the same level of fanaticism, if not more, than video games. Your child may play in a league or your husband may have his favorite team that – heaven forbid – anyone interrupts him while he’s watching a live game. This is the best time to become a simple cheerleader. Of course, the short skirt and pompoms are optional, but never rule it out. You may try to at least attempt to learn some of the basic rules of the game, or just take visual cues from others to know when to cheer and when to add into the collective “awwww” on any given play. Just showing up for a game is support enough. As for televised games, see if you can help family members set up some healthy and delicious snacks to get them through the game.
One of the easiest ways to support any interest a family member may have is to simply give them space to enjoy it. There’s no need to hawk over them, ask too many questions and certainly not to nag them regarding the amount of time or money spent on the interest. It goes without saying that there is an unhealthy amount of time and money that may be spent on things, but I’m just talking about a more moderate example for now. We all have a vice of some sort. You don’t necessarily expect your husband to understand why you love to spend time on Pinterest, so don’t worry if he’s planned another Saturday morning to go golfing with his buddies. If it feeds your individual levels of happiness, make room for it.
Are there other things that you’ve done to support family interests that didn’t tickle your fancy? Let me know what they are in the comments below. I love hearing about inventive ways to support those we care for in our lives.
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