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While your child is growing up, career choice might seem like a concern that only needs to be dealt with in the far future – a thought that may take a back seat as you place your focus as a parent on their grades, friends, achievements and development.
Although actual decisions around career choice only happen at a later stage, it is important for children to be allowed to explore their interests, even from a very young age, encouraging them to develop personal passions which will help them to engage better with their true self as they get older.
Once in secondary education, your children will begin making decisions that will shape their future and career. From the age of fourteen, teenagers start deciding on subject choices at school, forming perceptions of their talents and starting to think about what occupations they’d like to pursue.
As a parent, it’s only natural to be concerned about your child’s choices regarding their future. It’s easy to feel that you may know what is best for your child and it can be a scary thought to let their impressionable minds make wrong decisions that may affect the rest of their lives.
Fear aside, it’s important not to pressure your children down a career path that you see fit. Although most parents are well-intentioned, there is a fine line between helping your child make informed choices and influencing their decisions to suit what you may aspire to for them.
Pressuring your child to follow a career path that you want them to pursue can often lead to failure, unhappiness and general dissatisfaction throughout their studies and beyond.
If you’re a concerned parent eager to help your child with career choice, here are some tips to make sure you offer them support in the right way.
As we grow, experience life and begin to develop a stronger sense of self, our passions, values and motivations may change. Try to be understanding and supportive if your child is unsure of what they want to do or if they have frequent changes of heart at this early stage of their life.
As your child matures and becomes an adult, their hopes and dreams for their future might change drastically. They may even want to change career paths midway through a college degree. If this is the case, there are many possible opportunities for them if they want to change direction and hopefully find a better suited and more fulfilling path.
Your child’s passions may not be in line with what you had planned or envisioned for their future. Perhaps they feel passionately about a creative field, when you had hoped they would follow in your foot-steps in finance, law or another respectable profession.
It’s important to understand that success in careers stems from fulfilment and alignment. By allowing your child to follow their passions, you are giving them the best possible chance at success, in an area they will feel motivated, driven and enthusiastic about. Being good at something is not enough in its own right to form the basis for career choice. It needs to be aligned with what one is passionate about and inspired to engage with.
Self-awareness is one of the most crucial factors in achieving career satisfaction. People with a deep understanding of themselves, their values and motivations are more likely to find a career that aligns with their authentic selves and brings them fulfilment.
As a parent one needs to help the child to develop and follow their own identity. You can help your child foster self-awareness by supporting them in acknowledging and expressing their emotions, encouraging them to communicate freely, encouraging them to journal and being a self-aware role model.
The more self-aware they are, the better equipped they will be to make good decisions about their future.
Many young people choose an unsuitable career for the simple reason of not truly understanding enough about what a particular role necessitates. They may feel they should follow in their parents’ footsteps without truly exploring if the same career is suited to them. They may be very different to their parents but perhaps think that being different is wrong. Often times, young adults experience a disillusionment with their degree or chosen career, realising that it is not what they had expected.
Encourage your child to establish a sufficient understanding of what different careers and roles entail. By participating in work shadowing, talking to professionals and reading about certain careers, they will gain a deeper understanding of what they might enjoy or succeed at.
If you want the best guidance without pressure for your child to make the right career choice, perhaps you should consider letting them speak to a trained and experienced career consultant.
Our career consultants have helped many young people identify suitable career paths as well as assisting them in taking the next step in their careers. With children who are still at school, we usually begin the process with a family session before any one-to-one meetings.
If you are interested in hearing more about our approach and how we can help your child, book a free consultation with one of our career consultants.
For further reading on this subject: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/jobs/25career.html
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