As a parent, you invest a considerable amount of time into your children’s education in the hopes that they’ll enter a rewarding and financially secure career. Unfortunately, kids have to choose what they want to do with their lives at a time when they’re going through some seismic personal changes that can make even the most stable child irrational.
If you’re lucky, your son or daughter will have known since they could walk that they wanted to be a doctor, paleontologist, or submariner, and they have a clear career path ahead of them. Not all parents are so fortunate, though, so how do you help your child find the right career path when it’s not all clear cut? You have two main options:
You could adopt a kind of laissez-faire attitude and just let them work it out on their own. That doesn’t mean abdicating responsibility, but for some families avoiding constant conflict or nagging is the option that works best. You’re still there when your kids need you, offering advice and providing information, counseling them and giving them your thoughts; however, you don’t try and push them into making decisions before they’re ready or force them to follow the path you think is best for them.
Taking the lead
Alternatively, you could adopt a more proactive stance by making suggestions and recommendations, organizing attendance at college open days, and supporting any positive activities that could help your child make a decision about their future. You probably have a good grasp of the kinds of things that interest them and what they’re good at, and you may have some great ideas about how they can turn their talents and interests into a career. With this knowledge, you may be able to direct them towards opportunities they were unaware of or hadn’t considered.
In both of the above scenarios, you as the parent are supporting your child without putting them under undue pressure on the one hand, or leaving them entirely to their own devices on the other. If they’re stuck because they can’t find a course that fits with what they want to do, help them look for other opportunities such as completing a degree online or studying abroad.
You can also suggest alternative routes to a rewarding career, for example, if your child is interested in architecture and design, they might be considering taking a higher qualification in the subject. Courses such as the IPAL (Integrated Path to Architectural Licensure) combine everything your child needs to qualify for professional architectural licensure into a single, accredited program, including the Master of Architecture degree, Architectural Experience Program (AXP) hours, and the Architect Registration Examination (ARE). This might sound like a much better way of achieving their goals and will give them a real confidence boost.
Kids are like snowflakes – every one of them is different, and they respond to different forms of motivation. Some are better left alone, some need a bit of pushing, but there are many different approaches to achieving career success, and with the right kind of help from you, your child will find theirs.