Ensuring that our children are ready for a successful career, financial security and quality life is a pressing challenge for every parent. Parents serve as a major influence in their children’s career development and career decision making but how involved should a parent be in this decision-making process? Should you as a parent adopt a hands-on role? What is the best advice you can give your child at this point? Are you as parents well informed along with being well-intentioned while suggesting?
Parents influence children on many fronts such as the level of education or training that their children achieve; the knowledge they gather about work, job, and different occupations; the beliefs and attitudes they have for different circumstances; and the motivation they have towards success. Most of these are learned subconsciously – children and teenagers adopt their parents’ attitudes and expectations of them as they grow up. Research indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to research careers and to choose a career that would be interesting and exciting.
Making the right career choice is very important as it is the very base for deciding the future of children. A professional career counsellor can help in choosing the right career path but the role of parents in children’s career selection is crucial for the parents as well as the students. The stress among children multiplies if they feel the void of guidance from parents. Providing your children with an atmosphere that motivates them to express better and listening with patience is the key to solving this issue. Keep a track of your child’s changing interests and recommend career options that match their interests. Everyone has a unique set of skills and aptitudes. Each child is special in their own way hence may possess different skills and abilities to their parents. With this in mind, choosing a similar career role to either parent may not be the right path for the child. Parents should be counselled against imposing their own goals on to their children or seeing a reflection of themselves in their child’s accomplishments.
The trick here is to guide children that life is about self-discovery. That the skills and talents can be honed and developed. How many of us are in careers we thought we would be in when we were 18? We can only make decisions based on what we know about ourselves at the time, take the pressure off of them by letting them know it’s okay that they aren’t sure what they want to do yet but the important thing is to be proactive in finding their way. It’s the role of parents to instill three core values to aid them in their careers – self-belief, resilience and discipline. If these three skills are developed over time, our children have the maximum chance to rise to the top of any profession they choose.
The best thing you can instill is a mature and sensible mind-set, giving your children the tools to make their own informed decisions.
How you can influence your child:
- Having a strong, mature parent-child relationship
- Set a good example (socially, personally and professionally) for your child
- The attitudes, views and values you adopt and express
- The expectations you set for your children’s education, career and life
- The opportunities you provide for your children to learn and develop
There are many things that need to be considered for parents in order to make sure that their children make the right career choice.
In terms of career choice, you should:
- Aid, but not dictate, the decision-making process
- Evaluate your child’s aptitude, strengths, and weaknesses
- Support your child’s decisions
- Give your children freedom and time to discover their skills and passion
- Provide the motivation to develop and achieve
- Inform your Child regarding all aspects of the career
- Help the Child understand the work-life in the chosen career by associating with professionals in the field
- Stop your child from falling prey to peer pressure and herd mentality
- Gain your Child’s confidence and motivate them to discuss their queries with you
- Seek professional help whenever required
- Not trying to impose the ideas or views that existed during your days. Career scope changes with time
- Not misguide the child into choosing a career of your choice
- Not answer a child’s query if you are not sure about it. It’s ok to take time, research or look for professional help
- Not allow other people (friends, extended family, or relatives) to influence your child in the career selection process
To conclude a few simple rules:
Be involved, but not in control.
Advice, but do not decide.
Support, but do not dominate.