5 Ways to Help your Child Choose a Career Path
Can you remember the first thing your daughter or son said they wanted to be when they grow up? I could remember my son telling me that he wanted to be a lawyer, but since then his aspirations have switched to doctor, engineer, veterinarian, and even a superhero – according to him, he wants to be able to fly.
He is only ten, so his desire to explore various career options at that young age is normal. So what happens when they grow up to become teenagers, and still are confused about what they want to do?
Availability of various options
One of the reasons why many teenagers seem to be confused about a career path is because of the numerous options they are opened to. Fifty years ago, a graduate might have been opened to a few choices of jobs in their local area. Today, because of the many options out there for these teenagers to pick from, most of them end up with choice-overload.
Most of these young ones do not have any idea of what they want to do when they grow up. Hence why they end up most of the time with careers they do not like.
Going for a degree is even worse, they will spend 4-7 years in school studying for a degree they won’t use. Rather than allow this to happen, you can help them figure what they want from a younger age. So even if they change their plans, they will know they chose a path they want for themselves.
1. Stop treating your child as an extension of you
The mistake most parents make is trying to force a career path on their kids. They even go as far as answering the question of what they would like to become for them. The truth is, your child is another different being, he might have your DNA, but what motivates you might be different from what they even want.
Resist that urge to tell your kids to choose a particular path. Also, your child might not even be interested in going to the same college you attended or do the same job as you.
2. Let them try out different things
Kids love to explore, so they find it difficult to explore numerous careers if you keep them caged. As their parents, you need to expose them to various things, their hobbies, educative TV shows, and even extra-curricular activities in school.
Over the years they will pick interest in what they like, and might even develop passion too. The decision to pick a career line does not happen overnight, it is a gradual process, and this can happen if they explore more of their interests.
3. Do not force anything on them
If you are a doctor, you shouldn’t be buying your kid toy medical kits so he can play with you. Do not ask your child questions like ‘you want to become a lawyer like mum, right?‘ Kids should be allowed to focus on a career that interests them.
If as an engineer your child says he’s interested in farming, let him go for it. They start to feel pressured when forced to do what they do not want.
4. Find a mentor for your child
As kids that they are, they need direction and someone they can always look up to and learn from. If your child has shown interest in a particular career path, help him find a mentor in that area that can inspire him.
For example, if your child wants to be a banker, take him to the bank where the mentor works so he can ask questions he has on his mind. Having a great mentor can fuel your child’s career aspirations.
5. Be a good example
The last point here is about you. Kids learn from you as their parents, your every move, the words you say, and how you react to things. Ensure you work to be a great example of the career you are in. When your kids see that you are building the career you love, they too will know that it is possible to do what they love.