As your child nears the end of his or her school career, setting them up for a bright future and a successful work life is a high priority for you. But while some children are very sure about the career they want to follow, others seem somewhat directionless. Pushing them to make up their minds may result in a snap decision that’s made just to satisfy you but that doesn’t reflect wholehearted commitment. Can you help them to make their life-defining choice, without pressuring them? Try these tips.
1. Go for Ivy-League Career Counselling
Seeing their child going ivy is almost every parent’s dream. Your child may have demonstrated strong academic aptitude, but teens are notoriously lukewarm about their parents’ ambitions for their future. At worst, they’ll tell you what they think you want to hear – or the opposite of it if they feel too pressured. Get expert career counselling in a warm, friendly environment where your teen is made to feel like a young adult whose preferences are respected.
2. Expose Them to the World of Work
If your child hasn’t experienced working life before, it’s understandable that their idea of what it’s like to work a job is somewhat hazy. During their high school careers, encourage them to try holiday jobs and allow them to manage their own budgets.
If they have some idea about what they’d like to do, see if you can find people already working in that field who will be willing to tell them about the day-to-day work they’ll undertake. Don’t simply dismiss ideas that you think won’t result in attractive careers. Allow them to explore and discover the upsides and downsides of the careers that interest them. This can include browsing jobs sites to see how much demand there is in a field and what they can expect to earn at entry level.
Getting their info from people who already work in a given field and looking at what recruiters require will help them to understand what it will take to reach their goals. From there, they can make a better-informed choice about the challenges that await and whether they feel equal to them.
3. Let Them Take a Gap Year
The final year before college is a stressful one. It’s the year when your child pulls out all the stops to get the best grades possible accompanied by frequent reminders from parents and teachers about just how important that year is. It can be difficult for young people to look beyond the big milestone.
There’s no need to rush them straight into college or a job. A gap year gives them time to unwind, gain perspective, and decide what comes next. Besides, once they get started on the big push towards building a career, they might not have time out at all. A gap year gives them some breathing space on the threshold of what may prove to be a gruelling journey into adult life. It could have lasting practical benefits. With time on their hands, they’ll be better able to make good choices when deciding on their future.
4. Be Supportive but Avoid Being Over-Enthusiastic
It’s natural to enter enthusiastically into your child’s plans for the future – but keep the brakes on! Give support as needed and allow your child to navigate as much of his or her career preparations on their own. Not only does it prepare them for a life in which they’ll be the decision-makers, it also helps them to feel a sense of achievement and to take ownership of their chosen path. It’s the all-important difference between undertaking a journey that their parents want for them and one they chose for themselves. Sometimes, a hands-off approach is the best way you can help.