When you become a parent, it’s easy to assume that your child can be moulded into whatever you want them to be. But the truth is, we only help our children to enter this world; we don’t define their personalities and strengths. Every person is an individual, with unique traits that are often unrelated to their parents. And every person has a unique path ahead of them. Our task as parents is to help them find this path.
One big area where you can support your child on their path is career choices. Here are some tips for helping your child choose a career without being too controlling!
Don’t confuse your career preferences with theirs
Lots of us would like our children to have prestigious and high-paying jobs. And many of us would be willing to give them the necessary education to achieve this goal. But the rest of the path is not that straightforward.
Simply pushing your child into becoming a doctor, a lawyer, or a teacher could have drastic consequences if they have no desire to pursue these professions. Money is not the only motivation behind working; factors like job satisfaction, work-life balance, and job security are all important areas to consider when choosing a career.
Discuss what they enjoy doing the most
Every person has a passion for something. And this passion should be the main road sign for you when helping your child choose a career. Do they love sports? Is maths their favourite subject in school? Maybe your child dreams of the day when they receive a driver’s licence? Pay attention to what occupies your child’s mind most of the time.
To help them discover their passion, you can introduce your children to different aspects of our world. For example, take them to the zoo or have a hiking trip to see if they love exploring nature. Maybe they love electronics? You can find this out by giving them tools to experiment.
It’s also a good idea to pay attention to your child’s extracurricular activities. People usually spend their free time on things that they are passionate about.
Work out what they don’t enjoy
Another road sign is the opposite of the above. Everyone has a set of tasks they would rather avoid at all costs. Bear in mind that some tasks you personally enjoy could be hated by your children. Never make your child follow a career that solely consists of something they don’t enjoy doing.
For example, a person who’s squeamish might have serious problems when pressed into becoming a doctor. Alternatively, a teacher who doesn’t like working with people will find their job pretty stressful. Paying attention to these red flags in your child’s preferences will help to guard them against making a mistake in their career choices.
Another consideration is whether your child is academically minded. For example, going to university to become a doctor takes a significant amount of time, but if your child wanted to work in the fitness industry, personal training courses can be completed in a matter of weeks.
Use multiple assessment tools
In addition to your personal observations of your child’s talents, there are many efficient assessment tools. The following aptitude tests could help you:
- Strong Inventory
- Strengths Finder 2.0
- Holland Code
Don’t stick to just one though. The best approach is to compare different tests to identify patterns and better understand your child’s strengths.
Helping your child find their strengths could bring additional psychological benefits. It’s very important for a teenager to understand what are they capable of, and appreciate all that they are able to achieve.
Help them gain professional experience
When you’ve worked out the direction of your child’s career, it’s time to help them get acquainted with this profession. Sign them up for additional classes, or enrol them in volunteer work with professionals in their chosen field. Social organisations often have a place for willing young assistants. Or maybe you could ask a friend who works at a relevant company to become their mentor.
This is the moment when you should also help your child build their network. Networking can be as important for their career as education. Additionally, you can start building your child’s resume (or CV). Professional services such as UK.CareersBooster.com can be very helpful when it comes to documenting your child’s professional experience.
Helping you child choose a career is an exciting process, and one where parents can really add value with the right approach. Hopefully these tips help you support your child during this important life stage – do you have any tried-and-tested tips to add?