As your kids are approaching the end of their education and it’s getting close to when they need to start thinking about what’s going to happen next, it gets to be a pretty scary time for most parents.
And as much as they might try to hide it, it’s a scary time for the kids too. Because very soon they’re not going to be kids anymore, and while that does mean freedom and independence, it also kind of means that they’re out on their own.
Instead of waiting until pretty close to the last minute to make a decision, instead you should try and get your children prepared for what they’re going to do well in advance. Whether it’s college or straight into the working world or something else entirely, start the decision process early.
Here’s a few ways you can help them make this important choice:
Be a Role Model
One of the worst things that you can do as a parent who is trying to help their kids find a career path is to set a bad example. A parent is kind of like a child’s benchmark for what adulthood is, and it’s important for you to be a good role model for them.
Show them that you take your career seriously and also try to talk to them about the ins and outs of what you do. They’re probably going to resist listening to stories about work but you need to impress the importance of a solid career on them.
And you also need to teach them the importance of a career which will make them happy. Don’t complain about your job or about the fact that you have to get up and go there everyday because that will just make them reluctant to be a part of the working world.
Instead, talk about the positive elements of work. Make it clear that it’s fulfilling and interesting for you. Even if it might not be all the time.
Encourage a Variety of Activities
When your kids are in school, there’s a good chance that they’ll discover what they want to do while studying. Business, Science, Finance, Education, all of that stuff will probably be covered there.
But the traditional routes might not be the right course for your child. Everyone is different and not every kid out there will be interested in pursuing the same things that they had to spend their teenage years studying.
This is why you should encourage extra curricular activities, and also try and get them involved in other groups outside of school. If they have a wide range of interests you never know what they might discover.
Don’t be Afraid to Seek Guidance
You don’t have to do this alone. There are people out there who are professionally trained to lend teenagers a hand when it comes to seeking out the right career path for themselves. And they aren’t hard to find.
Chances are you’d be able to find one through the school that your child attends. If this is the case, you probably won’t even need to pay for it. It might seem like a waste of time but a career guidance counsellor will know what they’re talking about.
And if you and your child are finding it especially difficult to settle on something then it’s worth looking for help elsewhere. They might be able to come up with something that neither of you have considered before.
Teach Them to Be Realistic
Now while I’ve emphasised up to this point that everyone is different and the traditional career routes are not going to be satisfying for everyone out there who’s trying to find a way forward, we do have to be realistic at the same time
It’s important to not be miserable at work, but it’s also important to be getting a solid, consistent income and reaching a point of financial stability. There needs to be a balance between these two things.
So while it might be tempting to tell your child that they can just join a band and pursue a career in music, they’ll more than likely be broke for a long time if that’s all that they do. Try and reach a place where they’re working toward something that’s both satisfying and financially beneficial.
Don’t Stifle Their Passions
Having said all of that, don’t be one of those parents that discourages their kids from the things that they are truly passionate about. Most parents wouldn’t do this maliciously of course, they have their kids best interests at heart, it’s more out of fear and concern for their future.
And I get it, it can be tough to see them dedicating so much time to something which might not lead anywhere, but if it’s something that they really enjoy then it’s not something that they should just give up on.
The best course of action is to try and build up that balance we were talking about earlier. There’s enough hours in the day to make money and to work on passion projects if they spend their time wisely. You can help them with this kind of time management.
This process isn’t going to be easy, it will probably get pretty stressful and it might even lead to some arguments between you and your kids. But it’s the rest of their life we’re talking about here, so you have to push through the tough stuff to get them to where they need to be.