Aside from the main two priorities of wanting our children to be happy and healthy, most parents also strive to do everything they can to help their children succeed in their recreational and professional endeavors. Caring about the job role or career that our children go into is a common trait for many parents, simply because it’s natural for mothers and fathers to want their children to follow the path to a comfortable and secure life.
However, there is a fine line between supporting your child in picking the right career for them, and forcing them down a path that, even though you as a parent may think is right, isn’t suitable to the strengths or even desires of the child. This balancing act makes supporting your child in finding a career a tough prospect. Most parents dream of their child walking into one of those cliché roles such as a doctor, or a layer, or engineer, but the truth is, those roles simply may not interest your child.
If you’re struggling to find the right level of encouragement and influence in your child’s professional decisions, here are a few pointers to ensure that you’re providing the right amount of support and aren’t overstepping your mark. You don’t want to force a child down one career path, so adopting these tactics will prevent that.
Stop Treating Your Child as an Extension to Yourself
A lot of parents, especially those of the same sex as their child, sort of live vicariously through their child, celebrating their achievements as if it’s their own. This is commonly seen in sports and recreation where a parent may push their child to play a certain game simply because they played it as a child themselves.
It’s important to remember that your child is a unique individual with their own interests, own desires, and own dislikes, and their opinion of the world and things within it might not match up with yours. This means that the stuff that makes you hate a certain job might be what makes your child love it.
When guiding your child in finding their calling, you must resist the urge to tell your child to dismiss a certain job path just because it’s something that doesn’t interest you or encourage them to get into another field good salary. You need to respect your child’s interests and remember that their life is separate from your own. There is some more information here about nurse practitioner salaries.
Help Find Your Child’s Strengths and Passions
When a child knows what they’re good at and is confident in their abilities in that skill, they’re more than likely going to want to engage with that task as a career. That’s why it’s important as a parent to take the time and effort to try and discover what your children are good at, but perhaps more critically, what they’re passionate about.
A good way to find out a general idea of your child’s strengths is to take an aptitude test. There are three main ones, called the Myers-Briggs test, Strong Inventory, and Holland Code, and they’re all useful in giving both the individual child and the parents an overview of their strengths and better characteristics. This can really help guide them when choosing a career, as knowing what they’re good at might discourage them from a role that doesn’t play to their strengths. It also has the added benefit of highlighting the areas that they need to work on to become a more well-rounded individual.
To aid in finding what your children are passionate about, the best way to do this is to simply expose them to a wide array of different fields and sectors. This will then give them an opportunity to try everything until they find something that really sticks with them.
Find a Mentor
Every parent wants to be the main influence and guiding light in their child’s life. However, if they want to walk a path that doesn’t line up with your past experiences, then you may not be the best person for the job in helping them succeed. It may be hard to concede this, but you would not want to be teaching your child soccer without knowing how to play soccer yourself, and this same principle goes for preparing them for their desired profession.
Finding an individual who has more expertise in the field can be really helpful, as it gives them a role model to mold themselves off of and can fuel their aspirations. Obtaining a good mentor for your child can be a difficult task in itself, but when one comes along, it allows the child to integrate with that person and learn from them.
Encourage Your Child to Find Their Tribe
It’s said that as individuals, we are the result of our environment and what we surround ourselves with. This means that who we hang out with and the people in our life influences a lot of our personality and how we live. This means that to help your child be successful and proactive in finding a career, it’s a good idea to encourage them to surround themselves and befriend confident and driven individuals.
The last thing you want is for your child to isolate themselves because this will stunt their growth. Instead, encourage them to partake in sports, extracurricular activities, or other areas where they can be around inspiring peers. Having an awesome tribe of people in a child’s life will help them grow to their full potential and aspire to obtain a great career.
Be a Good Example
As a parent, your child is going to be watching your every move and will be imitating how you operate through the world, so it’s a good idea to try and be a good example. You can do this by showing passion and desire for your work, which will encourage them to find a role that makes them feel the same. Letting them watch you build a career that you love and are excited about will make them think that it’s possible for themselves to obtain that, which will create healthy aspirations for them.