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24 Feb

The Importance of Hobbies and Extracurricular Activities for Adolescents

Hobbies are one of the greatest pleasures in life, but hobbies can often be overlooked in adolescence. As a parent, mentor, or guardian, one of the most positive things you can do for an adolescent is encourage extracurricular activities and hobbies.

Hobbies and Extracurricular activities help to:

1.) Avoid Bullying

Involvement in after-school sports, clubs, or band gives adolescents a healthy way to interact with peers and develop a high level of social support. If your child has a consistent network of friends, their social skills may be ‘exercised’. Hobbies provide youth an opportunity to work diplomatically with peers instead of using violence or verbal attacks.

2.) Detect and Prevent Early Warning Signs of Delinquent Behavior

Adult supervision, increased access to trusted adults, and friends are great ways for adolescents to reach out when they need help. Trying to provide support that still respects privacy and an adolescent’s sense of autonomy encourages individuals to stay away from delinquent behavior, such as substance abuse. Additionally, the extra involvement can make parents aware of an adolescent’s friends, activities, and behavior.

3.) Increase Self-esteem

It is no secret that self-esteem is very important for adolescents. Hobbies and extracurricular activities prove very beneficial in highlighting strengths while providing a warm environment where teens feel safe and valued. Children with high levels of self-esteem oftentimes perform better in school, have closer family relationships, and are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol when they have problems.

4.) Make friends

Making friends can be difficult during the transition from childhood into adolescence; having multiple interests and hobbies can help adolescents befriend like-minded individuals and engage in constructive activities. Having friends who also enjoy similar hobbies can provide scaffolding that will help an adolescent. For example, two friends who enjoy knitting may take turns teaching each other new stitches or helpful hints. Learning from peers can be a very valuable tool that may yield better results than constant lecturing from adults.

5.) Make adolescents competitive for higher education opportunities and scholarships

Hobbies and activities for fun can often be added to resumes and are beneficial on college applications. Not only do adolescents with hobbies tend to do better in school, they may be eligible for music or sport scholarships that can lessen the financial load of universities. Hobbies, clubs, and activities provide your adolescents with immediate AND long-term benefits.

6.) Lessen chances of obesity and sedentary lifestyle

Obesity rates are climbing at an alarming rate, especially for children and adolescents. Having hobbies can reduce time spent in front of a television or computer and teach healthy habits that can follow them throughout their life.

 

For more information or to speak to one of our staff, please contact us at (818) 758-9450 or email us at info@westvalleycounseling.org

West Valley Counseling Center is located at 19634 Ventura Blvd. Suite 212 Tarzana, CA 91356