Helping your child better navigate their way into their future career and passion is one of the most fulfilling roles of parenting. Aside from being able to watch your kids grow into the kind of person they aspire to be, you are able to contribute towards their growth and in turn, you become a huge part of their formative years.
Helping and guiding your kids towards their chosen career is one of the ways to leave a lasting legacy as a parent. The fact that you were present and you did the best you can to help them achieve their dreams makes it a great memory and life lesson that they will forever carry even when you pass.
However, guiding your kids towards the right career path is never easy. There are several things that you have to consider. Aside from parenting, you have other duties that you need to fulfill as well. So to help you juggle your work and responsibilities as a parent, we have listed some practical and easy to follow tips to help you.
1. Listen to Your Child and Learn More About Them
As a parent, you need to foster an environment in which your child’s dreams are valued. Kids need affirmation and support before they face the harsh realities of the world. Whether they aspire to be a doctor or even a Disney princess, every kid needs a safe environment where they can openly share their dreams. Kids are then more inclined to share and discuss their future aspirations with you.
Since kids are still in their formative years, you need to keep in mind that not everything is set in stone. Your kid’s dream and career ideas may change as they get older. For instance, they might want to become a doctor now but as time passes they might see teaching as a more preferable career.
With that in mind, you must keep an eye out for these changes so that you can help them in the long-run. As your kid continues to waddle in the water, you need to be on the lookout and make sure that they do not drown.
In other words, as kids try to figure out their dreams and choose the right career path, parents like you need to make sure that they are not off track and that they are learning how to thread in between these changes.
In addition, being open and learning more about your kids is a great way to bond with them. According to an article written in Psychology Today by Professor Krystine Batcho Ph.D., the most memorable childhood memories reflect the child-parent bond.
Once you bond with your kids, then you would understand where their passion and interests lie. That being the case, you would be able to discuss several career options as well. So it is a win-win situation for both of you.
2. Identify Possible Careers
Kids’ interests vary over time. One day they might be learning how to become a professional swimmer; the next day they are aspiring to be a policeman. So as parents, you need to adapt and present several career options for them.
But before you are able to do that, you must know your kid’s talents, abilities, and interests. It would then help you identify the possible careers that are best applicable for your kid. For instance, when a kid is musically inclined and their interests revolve around musical instruments, then you can introduce them to several possible careers in music.
This way, they would be able to explore a career path where they can learn and gain skills that are in the area of their interests. The payoff would ultimately be worth it because kids are able to put their time into good use by honing their talents and pursuing their interests.
It may not be the career they would want to pursue in the future, but it would ultimately help them grow into the kind of person they would become. Presenting them with several options would open a world of possibilities and it would in turn help them discover where their true passion lies.
3. Provide Them with Resources
Parents like you need to provide a better career foundation for your kids. As your kid matures, some of the talents and skills they learned as a child solidifies and stays with them through adulthood. Hence, you need to provide them with the right materials and resources they need.
For instance, your kid has been thinking of taking STEM courses because she is highly interested in programming. As a parent, one of your roles is to provide her with the right resources so that she would not be overwhelmed when she goes to school and she would not quickly lose interest because of lagging behind. You can introduce the basics of programming through several modules and lessons about coding for kids.
Thanks to the internet, parents have the luxury of resources publicly available. You just need to guide your kids and make sure that they are fully equipped with the right resources. There are several websites that can help you like:
- Khan Academy;
- National Geographic Kids;
- NASA Kids Club;
- Discovery Kids;
- IXL; and
4. Help Them Gain Experience
Aside from having the perfect skill set for their chosen career, your kid needs to experience applying those skills in real situations as well.
Experience is the best teacher. It gently introduces them to the real-world and lets them have a little taste of what it is like working. By allowing them to work on their chosen career path, they can essentially reassess their skill, find where they are good at, and improve on the areas where they are lacking.
As a parent, you can easily help your kids gain work experience by using your connection and resources. Family, friends, and colleagues are an excellent source of work experience for your kids. They can start with job shadowing, apprenticeship, or training programs. This way, they can learn the ropes of the workplace and you can slowly ease them into the real world.
Since we have previously established that kids’ interest changes over time, helping them gain experience is also a perfect way to sample different career options. It allows them to gain new skills and explore different jobs.
5. Have a Backup Plan
As a parent, you must already know what it is like when things do not go according to plan. So it is important to always have a backup plan.
Without enforcing it to your kids, you should try and present them with other career options as a backup. This way, they would know that there are other roads to take aside from the career path they chose. Some of their skills might even be transferable to other careers; hence, you should always keep their options open. Not everything is set in stone, and there is always room for growth and more learning.
Having a backup plan does not mean that you are expecting your kids to fail. But rather, it is preparing them and guiding them to the harsh realities of the world. Sometimes, kids might not always love the first career they chose, they might feel disappointed and, to the point, disheartened to start on a new journey or career again. When that happens, having a backup plan and several options to choose from is a great way to help them pick themselves back up.
For instance, your kid’s initial career path is to become a news anchor. He is highly skilled in research and writing. However, when he started his journey on becoming a news anchor, he felt that he did not really like the job.
Instead of pushing your kid into something he does not want to do, you can present him with other career options where he can transfer his skills in research and writing. You can suggest other careers such as writer, researcher, academic, and among other things.
Remember that your role as a parent does not stop when your kid lands on their first career. As a parent, you would see different phases and versions of your kid as time progressed. It is your duty to see them through and show your support as they go through these different phases in life.
6. Develop Their Soft Skills
Some parents are still unaware that their actions at home play an important part in the development of their kid’s soft skills. Young children learn by copying you. They mimic your actions and how you interact with other people because they are usually at home spending time with you. Therefore, the way you act at home plays a significant part in molding their soft skills.
Soft skills are transferable skills. Regardless of their chosen career, your kids can use their soft skills to succeed in any role. For instance, they can perform well in their college interview using their communication skill, their time management skill would be put into good use when they start on a project, and soft skills like creative thinking and problem solving would really come in handy when they start on an internship.
That being the case, you should pay more attention to how you act and react around them. This way, they would be able to mimic your positive actions and they can ultimately develop their soft skills. The skills that they acquire at home plays an important part in their career.
Soft skills like being courteous, honest, and responsible at home could essentially help them to excel and do well in their future career.
7. Broaden Their Horizons
Apart from gaining experience related to their chosen career, you should also widen your kid’s horizon. Allow them to seek out new experiences. There are several activities that would pique your kid’s interests. Such activities do not have to be in line or related to their interests or skillset. Rather, it can just be fun, exciting, and new.
Brain research tells us that when the fun stops, learning often stops too. You might not see it, but your kid can gain valuable knowledge, acquire new skill sets, and gain new interests by exploring new and unfamiliar experiences.
Allow them to independently explore new activities. In this way, you are also allowing them to have more room for mistakes and development. More often than not, your kid might even surprise you as to how sensible and independent they are. Doing things outside their comfort zone allows them to think on their feet.
Since the ultimate goal of a parent is to prepare their kids for the real world. Letting them experience it is one of the surefire ways to do it. The idea here is to encourage your kids to think outside the box and provide them with the opportunity to do things outside the comfort of your home.
This way, it would foster a sense of personal independence in them that would be incredibly useful later in life, regardless of whatever career path they chose.
In the end, it is still up to them to choose a career path they like. As a parent, your role is to provide your kids with enough support. This is important so that they can stand and walk on their own. You should always remember that there is a fine line between interdependence and overreliance.
Interdependence is about healthy mutual reliance that also fosters a sense of independence among your kids; while overreliance makes it difficult for them to explore outside their comfort zone. That is why you should support them and help them pick the best career path.
Kids need to learn how to walk before they can even run. That being said, parents should create a solid foundation for their kids. This will make them able to choose a career path that is best suited for them. Building a solid emotional, social, and academic foundation would ultimately ensure the future success of your kids.