The Value Of A Shared Interest Between Parent & Child

The Value Of A Shared Interest Between Parent & Child

What makes you tick?  Do you share any passions with your children? One of the many things I love about being a mother of teenagers is discovering shared interests that help to cement our relationship as adults and as a family.

As parents we are all guilty of enrolling our children from an early age in a multitude of clubs under the guise that it will be “good for them”, whilst waiting quietly in the wings to see which ones stick and if we have a child prodigy on our hands – oh if only!

Those early day activities do have a role to play but the real moment of discovery comes with the secondary parenting stage when our children cast off the shackles of stage one parenting and start to own and nurture their own interests in a grab for independence of mind and spirit.   It is a moment of childhood metamorphosis.

It is wonderful to see them hit on something that ignites a spark and for which they truly develop not just a liking but a passion.  It is even better, however, if that something also interests you and will therefore connect you as individuals with a shared interest, rather than simply as a parent and child.

Of course with a boy and a girl in the house it is natural to assume the father will do all the boy stuff and the mother all the girl stuff, but that is an outdated viewpoint and certainly not the case in our house. I would be lying, however, if I said my eldest teenager’s passions for rugby and cricket ignite a spark in me, but nevertheless I am genuinely interested in what it means to him.  So over the years that has meant standing in the back garden and helping out whilst he practises his passing (rugby) or bowling (cricket), turning up to support him when he is playing, trying to understand the rules and taking an interest in the detailed match analysis that always follows every game. Sport excites him and is a big part of him I cannot ignore if I am to understand and connect with him, although sports trivia and inside sporting jokes are clearly the preserve of my husband as are trips to watch live games or to play a round of golf.

Sport aside, on a more frivolous level  we also love shopping together (yah!) a male in the house that loves to look good after a wasted decade spent trying to persuade my husband that clothes maketh the man and are not just a necessity for covering nudity, is a relief I cannot quite describe.   My son has helped me to decide on many an outfit over the years and was my chosen shopping companion when buying my all important shoes for my 50th this year.  My husband would say it is a shallow shared interest of course but I beg to differ.

Sadly my eldest does not share my passion for reading, the theatre or art.   Over the years we have forced books upon both our teens but with our eldest it has been clear since primary that reading would always be a means to an end for him and not a pleasure.  A Freddie Flintoff biography remains to this day his favourite read of all time – as an English graduate I have despaired!  Similarly, with the theatre whilst we have enjoyed many a family excursion to national and local theatre, aside from a pantomine featuring the dance group Diversity after their success on Britain’s Got Talent, it really hasn’t flicked his switch but it doesn’t mean we have given up – it is just a case of finding a compromise sometimes and we have had a few wins amidst the fails War Horse, Le Cirque du Soleil to name a few.

These passions of mine are all the reserve of my shared interests with my youngest teen who devours books by the truckload, adores drama from the perspective of a spectator, performer and director and is very happy to wile away several hours with me at the RA , the Tate or our local art galleries and has even started her own mini art collection as a result.

Similarly with my daughter, however, despite our female connection she shares a fistful of interests with her father I can’t get close to.  Sci-Fi for one, YouTubers with extraordinary names, the Marvel Universe and Gaming and as she reminded me only this morning, it was as a result of my husband spending hours at a time making up stories with her toys and shooting videos that ignited her love of filming.

It is impossible for everyone in a family to like all of the same things but to survive the next phase of parenting and beyond it is essential to have some areas of common ground.  It is our areas of shared interest that give not only our family our identity but the relationships within it too.  If I think about my relationship with my parents now in their 70’s, my mother’s absolute love is gardening and it is through her that I have developed my own interest.  Growing up in Norfolk, outdoor coastal walks were a regular occurence and gave us the chance to come together as a family and this is something I still enjoy not only with my parents when I visit, but also in London with my own family, even if the views don’t involve the sea.

As a family we have clocked up some fabulous experiences together including our Super Saturday experience at the 2012 Olympics and an array of moments from travelling and exploring different countries and cultures, something again that my own parents engendered in me during my childhood.   Comedy is also a shared passion and we all relish a night being entertained either from the comfort of our sofa or live at comedy clubs or the big venues with the likes of Michael McIntrye and Jack Whitehall – a new introduction for me by my teens in fact.

The truth is, however, it doesn’t even need to be complicated, some of our best moments together have been enjoying a wet and windy walk around the common or sitting around a table playing a card or board game (Scrabble brings out the worst in all of us) and binge watching on Eastenders or Come Dine With Me whilst waiting for my own culinary masterpiece to materialise (think Wendy of Butterflies fame – if you are old enough of course!)

Parenting teenagers is a distinctive journey and the value of shared interests is nowhere more apparent than at this stage – they will provide a multitude of unforgettable experiences and are ultimately the glue that will bind you together for the stage beyond.


What interests do you share with your children and as a family?  I would love to hear from you in the comments below.








  1. August 10, 2017 / 8:33 am

    2 of the kids, hubby and I love football, but it’s only really child 4 and I that go to matches together. when he played as a child he was happy for me to be fully involved with all aspects of the training, matches etc and we still go to Birmingham together when we can, when we’re in the same country #tweenteensbeyond

  2. oldhouseintheshires
    August 4, 2017 / 7:12 pm

    What a lovely post Jo!
    It’s sport all round in the old house but I love to see the subtle changes that have happened in my children’s teenage years with their own choices of hobbies. My daughter loves classic literature and this has led us to read similar books and be able to talk about them often over our other love, cake! My son loves hockey as does my hubbie (I call myself a hockey widow) but he has just discovered that he rather likes history so outings out with him are a joy. Thank you for a great read over my tea! #Tweensteensbeyond

    • Jo
      August 4, 2017 / 9:49 pm

      Yay! My daughter and I share a love of cake too. What better way to catch up than with tea and cake?! Oh and classical literature, I still have all my books from uni! It is so wonderful to find something you love doing with each of them isn’t it? I am stuck just talking to my eldest by phone right now as he is away so much but in the 24 hours he was home between holidays we still managed to indulge in a bit of us time and was spoilt with a face time call from his sun lounger this afternoon. I look forward to getting some proper quality time with him soon once the holidays with mates are over. In the meantime back to running with my daughter! Can I inspire you? Read my next post. x

  3. This is a fabulous post and such a great read! I have four children and my eldest just turned 11, so not quite at the next stage of parenting. That said, it is a joy to see their budding interests in all sorts of things, including unexpected ones. My eldest’s teacher has raved about his drama skills, which is something we would never have suspected! We try and go on outdoor family adventures as much as we can, and it is funny to see how they all seem to enjoy them in different ways. Hopefully the memories of our fun family times will glue us together for a long time to come.

    • Jo
      August 3, 2017 / 8:34 am

      Annette the interests they pursue in the primary years are so important in helping them to pinpoint where their passions lie. My youngest has been involved in drama from an early age and is now going onto study it at GCSE. I am not sure that it will come to anything long term but it has certainly played a big part in developing her confidence and her vocal skills. I have loved reading your adventures as a family and am sure they will help to bind you all together into the future. Thanks for your lovely comment. #FamilyFun

  4. July 28, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    So still in toddler phase I’m not quite at complete shared interests. I spend many a reading session, train track playing with him and outdoor exploring with him though hopefully igniting something in for the future. I think what I can gather from this though is the time when you’ve had good experience is when you’ve been hanging out as a family. This is the key I see within my family…. lovely post x ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

    • Jo
      August 3, 2017 / 8:27 am

      Karen all of those things that you are doing now with him at this young stage will set you both up well for the future as his interests evolve. I always love reading about your exploits together and your family excursions. Thanks so much for your lovely comment. #FamilyFun

  5. July 27, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    My daughter has just turned 12 and I am loving the fact that we share things we love together. We both have an unhealthy obsession with stationery and Marvel superheroes and books. I love being able to talk to her and share these passions.

    • Jo
      August 3, 2017 / 8:24 am

      Oh Ali my daughter would love you! She also has an unhealthy obsession with Marvel superheroes and books. She is trying to bring me up to speed and I am getting there but not as fast as she would ideally like. FamilyFun

  6. Imperfect Mum
    July 27, 2017 / 7:55 am

    I have been known to join in on the boys video games! I also work alongside my son when he does homework. We do our homework together. But we love beach walks with our dog the most! #FamilyFun

    • Jo
      July 27, 2017 / 1:27 pm

      Catie I love the pictures of your beach walks with your dogs. I am always envious that we don’t have a beach nearby and as I said in my post it was and still is a big bond with my parents. Well done on the video games – that is one area I have resolutely avoided. #FamilyFun

  7. July 26, 2017 / 10:19 pm

    Love this. Especially as they start to enter the teen years, I feel this is absolutely crucial. Even if it means stepping outside your comfort zone, the effort is so worth it at a time when they start drifting away #familyfun

    • Jo
      July 27, 2017 / 1:28 pm

      Thanks Jeremy. I am glad you agree. For my sins I have just started a running challenge with my youngest teen and whilst it is agony am loving the bonding moments it is giving us too. #FamilyFun

  8. July 26, 2017 / 7:59 pm

    It is difficult and I think gaming and social media make it really challenging as I don’t understand their obsession with the first one and am pleased social media does not seem to interest them. It is simple stuff where we bond like walking, enjoying nature, board games, crime dramas, cookery and baking and every time we do those I feel relieved that some things can compete with gaming even if only for a little while

    • Jo
      July 27, 2017 / 1:30 pm

      Oh Kate I couldn’t agree more. They all spend so much time online I am somewhat relieved when my 18 year old plonks himself down and says lets play a game or just wants to take a walk. Everyone needs the simple things in life for sure.

  9. July 26, 2017 / 11:57 am

    my 15 year old son and I share a mutual love of theater, art, books, and writing. I love going to the theater with him and his last year he was in two plays, which was so fun for me as I was a drama geek in high school. He has signed up this year for video production. He wants to be a movie/TV director or radio show host so he’s already thinking about college. He’s about to start his sophomore year at the end of next month and he’s looking forward to it. My 10 year old and I share a love for ghost stories, sci-fi, and our traditional Saturday night movie. With both of my boys we share a strong love of music, video games, hiking, and evening walks. My oldest like stop shop about as much as I do, though I’m not a big shopper but my youngest abhors it unless I’m taking him to shop for a toy, lol. #bloggerclubuk

    • Jo
      July 27, 2017 / 1:32 pm

      Michelle it sounds like you have all the bases covered with your boys which is fantastic and lovely that you have different interests with each of them as individuals as well as together as a family. Your eldest sounds so like my daughter, she is into drama and film production too. I look forward to hearing your son gets on. Thanks for commenting. #bloggerclubuk

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