If we’re being honest, parenting is a daunting task. And no matter how many books you read or how hard you work, oftentimes, it doesn’t get easier (just more rewarding). As your kid grows, your role becomes even more important, especially when it comes to finding ways to help your child choose a career. While expanding your child’s mind requires excellent creativity, you also have to recognize your role in shaping what your child believes, thinks, and values.
In a US study involving 1000 kids under age twelve, 56.6% of girls leaned more towards STEM careers, while 43.3% of boys seemed attracted to civil service careers. But this is just one statistic; there are many options and paths for your child to follow. Here are some ways you can improve your role in the process:
Introduce Different Activities to Determine What Piques Their Interest
Children learn through observation. That being said, expose them to different places, activities, and experiences where they can learn about and interact with potential opportunities for their future.
- Museums and science
- Arts and people
- Animals, the environment, and travel
According to career advisors, these three highlighted areas can pique your child’s interest in various career choices. While it may be too early for kids to make ideal choices, you can help focus their passions with activities or academic subjects. For instance, your kids may want a career in biology if they excel in that subject. Therefore, start them off early on functions of all body systems to build their knowledge.
Don’t Force Career Interests or Paths
While it may feel natural to encourage your passion areas, or engage your child with what you do, resist the urge! Forcing your child to adopt your thought processes or decisions can jeopardize their future.
If children accept and move towards professions that aren’t their choice, it can lead to to career dissatisfaction and burnout. Plus, you won’t want your grown children to tell you they chose a career path because it was imposed upon them! According to Career Vision US, parents are the top influencers in a child’s career choice. Therefore, it helps to know the power you have (and not abuse it).
Explain the Prospects of Backup Careers
Helping your child choose a career doesn’t mean picking one and sticking with it! Help your child understand they can have more than one job or field, depending on the combination of courses they opt for when they get to college or depending on the experiences they have when they first begin working.
By explaining all of the options to them, your children get an earlier understanding of what it means to have an alternative career plan. Sometimes, the opportunity to dabble in more than one career choice makes it possible for your kids to access openings they wouldn’t have had in the first place.
In conclusion, as much as you want your kids to succeed in life, you have a responsibility to make their career decision worthwhile (while not forcing them to think, feel, or choose a specific avenue based on your opinion). Avoid being the overly critical parent who ignores their children’s passion and instead chooses to live their lives through them. It’s also imperative to accept their choices and support your child no matter what.
For more career tips, head to our education page!
Featured Image Credit: Jimmy Dean