Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

Parenting advice: guide your child towards the right career direction

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article

High school graduates hear all the time negative advice from people around them when they reach a decisive moment in their life, which comes down to choosing a profession. Common statements like “you do not have to be passionate about your job, you just need to do it”, “it is just a job, it helps you earn your living and that is it” or “choose the one that gives you financial stability” are usually coming from those individuals who do not receive any satisfaction from their actual jobs. Since they probably made a wrong decision when they had the opportunity to mold their future, they ended up living an empty life believing that it is impossible to do what you love. The worst part is that they are not even being malevolently; they imprinted this firmly into their minds. However, a high school graduate does not need to hear all these misconceptions at the beginning of his journey. For this reason, his parents must be there for him in order to provide the necessary guidance.


How to engage in career discussions with your child

The reality is that, as a parent, you need to start preparing your child for the future since childhood meaning that you should engage in career conversations earlier. Make sure that you choose the right time and the right place. For instance, that moment when you are both alone at home, after your kid comes from school is ideal because you can ask about his day, his favorite sports and hobbies. This will give you the opportunity to assess his athletic ability. Moving on to the academic side, you need to inquire about his favorite subjects, his personal values and interests. Moreover, you can ask him directly what type of profession he has in mind for the future. If your child is a natural talent in what concerns football, tennis or gymnastics, but you see him as a violinist or pianist, do not try to take advantage of your influence on him in order to manipulate his direction towards a specific career. Who knows, you could be raising a successful athlete. Let things take their natural course and you might have a pleasant surprise. You must be there for your child to impede him from going down the wrong path in life, not treat him as an extension of you.

Influencers that have the power to shape your child


As a parent, you have a big influence on your child’s professional career choice and you do not even know it. For instance, if you own and operate a family business, he might believe that you expect him to continue the tradition. If he recognizes your aspirations or objectives, he might struggle to achieve them just to make you proud. Any child wants the approval and validation of his parents. Other members of the family may also exercise their power on him unconsciously. If he has an older brother or sister that he looks up to, he might try to inquire about their interests and career choices to follow their example. In fact, there are many other influencers out there including friends, teachers, culture and media. If your kid’s girlfriend or boyfriend has to move to another city and wants to attend college there, this might have a great impact on his career choice because he will most likely want to go to the same college. At this point, we are talking about a teenager, but you still view him as your precious child. The school environment might prove to be a solid source of information and motivation for your child thanks to all the teachers there who truly have the purpose to transform their students into successful and accomplished people. They also witness and evaluate their performance in class so they already have a clue about their potential. Maintaining a good communication with your child’s teachers will help you guide him towards the right career direction. You should also encourage your kid to use media for acquiring information regarding the rewards provided by each job.

When choosing a career path, information is power


You cannot help your child make an informed career decision, if you do not become familiar with the world today. You have to be aware that time led to the appearance of new jobs in fields that you do not know. This means that you should not limit his options. Nowadays, the internet gives you the possibility to make money out of nothing so you should not panic if your teenager does not have a clear idea about his professional career while still being in high school. As a parent, you cannot help but panic because you know that time is passing by and you feel like building a path for your child is crucial. However, you should try to relax and search together different opportunities and advantages that come with each job. If he displays a great interest in finances, you can start looking for budget or credit analyst, financial planner, attorney or accountant jobs. If he wants to help others, then you should direct your attention towards doctor, police officer or environmental health and safety specialist jobs. If your child has an overflowing creativity, then the idea of becoming a videographer, graphic artist, interior designer or even an entrepreneur definitely sounds appealing.

You are stuck with an unemployed adult child: what can you do?

If you want to avoid living with your 25 years old child in the same house in the future, you need to concentrate your attention on his personal and professional development since childhood. Even if you end up struggling with an adult child, you should not give up. Maybe he has not managed to find his path in life. Many people feel lost on this earth but it does not mean that they do not have a meaningful purpose. Instead of criticizing and judging him, you should offer your support, affection and advice. Showing patience and understanding is the most important thing in these types of situations, but not too much, because you do not want him to take advantage of your kindness.

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.