Choosing a career is an essential decision for almost everyone. Most of us also struggle to ensure if that decision is going to benefit or hurt us in the future. For that exact reason, many parents tend to intervene with their children when making a decision. The saying is, children will receive more support if the career path they take favors their parents.
This intervention usually happens because parents assume that they can make the best choice for their kids as they have more experience. But that’s not all true. Parents might have more experience, but that doesn’t mean they know exactly the best career for their kids. If you’re a parent with a teenager who’s soon going to college, forcing them to take a career that you want is the biggest mistake you can make. To better understand this point, below are a few tips on how to help your child choose the right career path.
1. Encourage part-time jobs
Having hands-on experience is literally the best teacher. You can sit down with your teen and make a list of jobs that align with their interests and likes. Help them find something that they can actually gain valuable knowledge and skills that they can use in college and the opportunities after that. In general, part-time jobs can teach time management skills, customer service skills, and how to stay productive and focused when working. At the same time, part-time jobs can actually help your teen determine their likes and dislikes.
2. Sponsor extra short courses
Taking additional courses and classes is usually the least priority of a teen who wants real-world experience. Motivate and encourage them to do so by sponsoring short courses of their choice. If your teen is interested in health and wellness, there are plenty of educational institutions out there that offer youth and adult MHFA courses that both of you can look into. Most of these courses only take a day or two, and some are even self-paced and online. If your teen wants something that involves more physical work, you can check your local career center for welding or woodworking classes. Encourage them to take classes that align with their choice of field, may it be health, lifestyle, arts, literature, or architecture.
3. Don’t limit or enforce them
Some parents force their children to take a career that they didn’t fulfill in the past, while others want their kids to take the same profession they currently have. Regardless if you’re a successful business person or a doctor in a prestigious hospital, never force your kid to be the bearer of your torch. Or even treat them as an extension of your personality and dreams. Let them choose the dream they want to chase and celebrate it. If their ambitions are big, don’t limit them. As long as it’s realistic and achievable for them, why not, right? What you should do is teach them the power of determination and hard work.
4. Consult a career coach
Parents often talk to a school counselor when they have concerns about their kid’s studies and future careers. However, it’s more fitting to speak to a career coach if it’s for near-adult plans. School counselors specialize in the education system and can rarely make appropriate recommendations and guidance when it comes to making money. A good career coach can teach your teen the critical skills required in the current work environment and build a relevant and powerful resume. They can also guide your teen in making informed decisions about the progress of their career. If your teen lacks confidence, a career coach can help with that too.
5. Encourage them to volunteer
Besides part-time jobs, volunteering is an excellent alternative for learning real-world skills and personal development. Your teen can learn how to meet deadlines, work with colleagues, and build a community. Also, the experience can also improve their self-esteem and mental health. In volunteering, your teen can also discover more about their personal interests and social responsibility. Start looking into your local centers and non-profit organizations that accept young volunteers.
It’s normal for a parent to want the best for their children’s career. However, you must understand that there are boundaries as to what you enforce on them. And when it comes to choosing their dream career, it’s best to let them lead their own future. If they fail or come across huge challenges because of it, then they will learn more. After all, people can’t always make good life decisions, and losing is part of winning.