Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / DEC. 20, 2014
version 2, draft 2

How to Guide Your Children to Choose the Right Career Path

You want what’s best for your children. Naturally, when they tell you about their crazy career choices there are already alarm bells ringing in your head. You want to scream at them that they’re being silly, but at the same time you don’t want to become that parent who makes their children miserable by forcing them to do something they don’t want.

The concept of the ‘right’ career path is one we’re not going to go into. The correct career path differs for absolutely everybody. Instead, we’re going to show you how you can guide your children in what you believe is the right direction.

Start by Talking to Them

The biggest mistake a parent can make is not taking the views and opinions of their child into account. Let’s say they really want to do something and you have no idea why. The right way to go about it isn’t by screaming at them or demanding they do something else. You have to ask them why they want to do something and why they think they’re doing the right thing.

Sit them down and calmly ask them about why they want to do something. Listen to what they have to say and think about whether they’ve really thought this through. Most children will go through phases at some point, but these are dreams. If they haven’t carried out any research or understood the risks of their chosen path, you know it’s a phase.

On the other hand, if they’ve really thought about it now it’s up to you to consider whether this is the right thing for you. Remember, you don’t know absolutely everything, and you shouldn’t delude yourself into thinking you do.

Make the Right Career Path Interesting

Perhaps you’ve seen that they’re good at science and think they should pursue this subject. Do what you can to make sure they’re having fun with that subject. One of the biggest reasons children don’t follow what they’re good at is because they find it boring.

For example, rather than yelling at them to do their science homework, take them to a science show. There are lots of them around that aim to make science fun. Introduce them to concepts outside of what they teach in class. Excite them and inspire them. It’s about gently guiding them in a certain direction so they realise that they should follow what they’re good at not what they have taken to in the last week.

Give them a Chance

Most career choices aren’t poor. There are only a few exceptions to this, such as if the decision is downright dangerous or unrealistic. By all means, if they’re set on doing what they want, allow them to give it a try. Be supportive of them and do what they ask of you. It may kill you to allow them to do this, but it can be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Make a deal with them that you’ll give them a couple of years to make a certain career choice work. Make sure that they put everything they can into it. Let them take responsibility for their actions. Remember, we live in a world where we can always change careers if it hasn’t gone wrong. Delaying the right career choice so they can explore isn’t going to cause any damage to their prospects at all. In fact, it’s more likely to broaden their horizons.

Overall, approach this delicately and objectively. You don’t want to end up arguing with your children about this. Let them say what they think and make sure they also listen to your side of the story.

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