Influencing child’s career choice
How parents can influence their child’s career selection process?
Whether we have lot of expectations from our children and their performance or we want them to be just themselves and be happy either ways, we all know that we serve as a major influence in our children’s career development and career decision-making. We want our children to find happiness and success in life and one factor which influences happiness and success is career choice.
Research also indicates that when children feel supported and loved by parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to research careers and to choose a career that would be interesting and exciting. This is important because studies show that adolescents who feel competent regarding career decision-making, tend to make more satisfying career choices later in life.
As parents, we influence our children in a lot of different ways like the level of education or training that our children achieve, the knowledge they have about work and different occupations, your exposure and knowledge about different career options will reflect on your child, the beliefs and attitudes they have towards working; and the motivation they have to succeed.
Most of them are learned unconsciously. Children and teenagers absorb their parents’ attitudes and expectations of them as they grow up.
Some of the key influencers are:
- The expectations parents have for their children's education and career.
- The example they set for their children.
- The values they show to their family, friends and to society.
- The opportunities they offer their children to learn and develop.
- The kind of parent-child relationship they develop.
Choosing a career is an extremely important decision that impacts an individual ‘s entire future, so parents can become very stressed. It is important to stay positive otherwise it can become a stressful time for all involved. Parents unwittingly can make the past seem perfect and the future terrifying.
In my personal opinion I feel it is our responsibility as parents to talk and make our children aware about the different career options and the recent trends in the job market thereby facilitating them to understand their interests and pursue towards a career in which they would be happy. It is important for parents to give students support and encouragement to explore the many options available to find the best career fit.
It is best to start the discussion as early as possible, don't wait until your children are looking at college admission forms to fill in. Much of the formative discussion should have happened well before this stage. If the process is started early, there is less likelihood of making unwise decisions.
Some suggestions as to what we can do to support our children:
- Encourage your children to get as much education as possible.
- Help them to discover their innate talents and skills.
- Develop their knowledge of the world of work.
- Teach them decision- making skills.
- Value gender equity and cultural diversity.
- Become aware of career resources/ education and training opportunities.
- Observe the effects of work experience.
We should try to stop ourselves from shooting down ideas our children may have about their future careers. If we react negatively, it may shut down the whole exploration process. We need to keep the lines of communication open, and encourage our child to gather as much information as possible on their career interest areas.
I would once again reiterate that we must recognize that our role is simply to act as a facilitator in our child’s career journey and allowing independent career choices marks our children’s first real step into adulthood.
(The author is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Learning Arena, an e-learning company)