Teenage Interests and Hobbies: Why You Should Help Adolescents Find their Passion.
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If you’re thinking adults can’t relate to teenage interests and hobbies, you’re probably right. Being a teenager is probably one of the hardest things in life. Between looming SAT exams and grown-ups out of touch with teens, the world looks pretty cruel. It’s like the world is designed to mess with teenagers every day. Yet, most adults love to remind teens how easy they have it. You’ll hear someone quip, “When I was your age, we didn’t have Uber. We had to walk to the bus stop’.
But you don’t have to be that grown up teens see as a drag. You can be the fun, cool, and hip grown-up they want to hang out with all day long. How do you do that? By taking some interest in things they are in to. You know, being the person adolescents want hang out with because you are fun.
But don’t fake it by reading up on top 10 teenage interests on a website and assume every teen out there agrees with the. You’ll need to put a bit of work into uncovering unique hobbies a young person likes. Otherwise, you might end up getting everything wrong and torture some poor teen with fitness activities for elementary students.
Taking Interest in Teen Interests and Hobbies is Good for You
“Wait. Can grown-ups enjoy teen stuff?” you ask? You bet you will, because believe it or not, hanging out with your teen friend or family member can be refreshing. You get to a chance to let loose a bit and forget all those worries that have been eating away at you every day of the week. Those few hours you spend with your soon to be adult friends can be the refreshing break you need to recharge.
But you’re won’t be the only one benefiting from taking an interest in cool hobbies for teens. You’ll also be giving the youth hanging out with you a chance to have a role model in their lives. That means you get the chance to play and nurture the next generation at the same time. What could be more awesome than that, parents?
So, let’s brush up on your teen skills. We will also get you caught up on what young people like to do with this list of top 10 teenage interests and hobbies!
But before we get to that, you’ll probably want to know how adolescents spend their time. Just so that you don’t mess with their schedule by taking them to a music concert on a school night.
How Typical American Teens Their Time
- 1. Sleeping:
This shouldn’t be much of a surprise because everyone takes a snooze at the end of the day, even if you work the night shift. Your average adolescent will be in bed by 10 p.m. They’ll sleep for the next 8 and a half hours if they’re not distracted.
- 2. School:
Most teens are usually up by 7 in the morning and in school by 9 where they’ll spend the next 6 and a half hours. They might spend more time in school if they’re into sports and other activities.
- 3. Leisure Activities:
You most likely grab a bite with your friends at work and to unwind after a hard day’s work. Well, teens are no different. They want to do something fun. Like the rest of us after a whole day of work and chores.
- 4. Other Activities:
If they have any hobbies, teens still have enough energy to squeeze an hour or two into things they like doing. You’re too beat after getting off from work and you can’t wait to get home hit the couch and watch an hour of TV before dinner.
- 5. Media and Communication:
Today’s youth spend about 2 hours and 15 minutes on their smartphones chatting, watching videos, or playing games.
- 6. Homework:
This is probably the most hated activity for any teen. According to statistics, they spend about an hour doing homework. Most parents with adolescents know this. Music or video games are much more appealing that homework.
- 7. Working/Volunteering:
A typical adolescent has about 30 to 60 minutes of work in him or her to dedicate to work.
That’s about it. Know you have a timetable of everything an adolescent does with their time on any given day. You can now work out when to spare time and join them in their preferred teenage interests and hobbies.
They Don’t Allocate a Lot of Time to Teen Interests and Hobbies
What you might have noticed though is, teens spend about half their time doing things that adults would consider non-productive.
They spend a good deal of their time social media, watching TV, or grooming themselves. But remember, you spend a bit of time relaxing and recharging too. Everyone needs some rest or some kind of distraction every now and then.
But do they really need 5 hours of downtime?
They probably not, and leaving them with so much time on their hands is a recipe for getting into trouble. If you don’t believe it, statistics show that teens who spend their downtime on other activities apart from hobbies, tend to get into trouble more often than those who spend their downtime on hobbies like extra-curricular activities, reading, writing, or in a music band. The data might be a bit dated, but it’s not too far off the mark.
What sort of trouble might they get into if they don’t pursue constructive and positive hobbies you ask? Well, here’s what the data says:
- Half of the teens engaged in unconstructive hobbies or activities are more likely to drop out of school
- Almost half of teens engaged in unconstructive hobbies are more likely to use drugs when in high school
- A third of teens engaged in unconstructive hobbies are likely to become teen parents before graduating from high school
- A third of teens engaged in unconstructive hobbies are likely to pick up smoking
- About a third of teens engage in unconstructive hobbies are likely to get arrested before graduating from high school
And no. Chatting away on a smartphone is not considered as a constructive hobby. Let’s see how you can help your young friend pick up constructive hobbies.
Productive Downtime: Helping Adolescents Pick the Right Teenage Interests and Hobbies
You don’t need scientific research to tell you that the right teenage interests and hobbies help teens meet new people, develop new passions, and gain new skills outside school, and more importantly, they also get to have fun. But you do need a bit of refresher in adolescent development to drive home the importance of the right hobbies.
The two most important things that happen during teen years are identity formation and differentiation. Identity formation is exactly what you think – it’s the process where adolescents develop a unique identity, preferences, needs, and skills. Differentiation is part identity formation but it’s leans more towards the formation of a unique identity. One that is free from that of parents and the rest of the family.
And that’s where hobbies come in.
Hobbies play an important role in the formation of adolescent identity and differentiation outside the family. With the right hobby, you can be sure they’ll develop into responsible adults and escape all those nasty things that come with unconstructive hobbies.
Here are some constructive hobbies you could help teens pick up, and even share with them. We promise both of you will have loads of fun and achieve positive growth.
One thing that every teen can’t resist is either listening to music or being part of the music making process. Scientific studies show that adults can’t physically enjoy music the same way teens do. Teens tend to have a deeper connection with music because it helps them explore their identity.
Remember what we said about identity formation? Well, music is like the glue that brings all the different aspects of their emerging identity together.
So, don’t try and judge their choice of music. Instead, become part of their emerging new identities and help them better understand the changes occurring in their bodies and around them by enjoying or supporting their choice in music. You can even encourage them to start their own music band and explore their talents.
2. Encourage them to Take up Sports
Another great choice of teenage interests and hobbies is sports. Just about any sport will help an adolescent explore the different aspects of their emerging identities. Sports also help teens bond with peers who share similar interests which goes a long way in helping them through the differentiation process.
But there’s a caveat when it comes to sports.
Research (we’ve quoted lots of scientific studies in the article, but when it comes to the personal development of a person, you want all the data at your fingertips, right?) shows teens who play in varsity sports are more likely to engage in underage drinking.
All that testosterone coupled with the excitement is bound to make them want to try new and grown-up things.
Luckily, you can make sure adolescents do binge drink even when they play varsity sports by getting them involved in other meaningful hobbies like arts and music. Teens who take up music and arts are less likely to develop problem behaviors like drug use.
Talking of arts, lots of teens enjoy unwinding with a good read. If you don’t believe it, check out the how fast the teen fantasy genre sells out on your favorite book store. Or how huge the vampire series is among teens.
Nurture the innate desire of adolescents to read by gifting them a popular book title now and then. You can even get them a voucher for a well-stocked book store if you’re not too sure which books they’d like. But arts are not all about reading.
Other teens like experiencing themselves through creative arts like painting drawing, and sculpting. If one of the cool hobbies your teenage girl or boy shows interest in is painting, encourage them by getting them brushes and colors to express themselves.
Other fun creative arts, which would be the perfect hobbies for girls include cooking and baking and jewelry-making. If you’re lost on creative arts hobbies for teenage boys think along the lines of car modeling, starting a coin collection, and even scrapbooking. You can’t go wrong with these.
Volunteering for social causes is one of those teenage interests and hobbies you might not think has a lot of participants. But there are lots of teens around the world whose only ambition is making a difference in their communities.
If that sounds like a youth you know, you might want to introduce them to typical volunteer positions in animal shelters, museums, libraries, and hospitals.
You could even arrange for them to go for exotic volunteer locations where they get to site see while they do what they love best.
5. Pique their Interest by Introducing them to Technology
Nothing is as interesting as a new toy, and technology brings an unlimited supply of new toys. As a hobby, technology gives adolescents the chance to explore emerging tools, and learn how they work. Perhaps more importantly, through technology, they get to acquire real-life skills sure to come in handy after graduating from high school.
You’ll want to be careful though with this hobby though. It can be a little expensive maintaining a technology hobby. And since you want your young adolescent friend to grow up into a responsible adult, make sure they understand this and work towards chipping in for their new found hobby.
That’s about it for teenage interests and hobbies. You now know why hobbies are important for the development of adolescents. Without meaningful hobbies or interests, they’re more likely to sink into a hole of wanton irresponsibility.
Help teens become the best versions of themselves by getting them interested in one of the interests and hobbies suggested in the article. They’ll come to thank you later because you’ll have modeled them into responsible and productive citizens. Don’t also forget to make some time to enjoy some of these activities with your teen pal or family member. It will mean a lot to them to have an adult take interest in stuff they love. Who knows? Maybe all that you’ll put into helping them find the right interest or hobby will awake the genius in them?
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