You’ve done it all—picturing your kid as a child prodigy, excelling in their field as a known doctor, lawyer, or engineer. After all, as a parent, who wouldn’t want a bright future for their children, right?
As they grow up, you gave all your best for them to discover their full potential. Yet at some point, you wished they’d follow in the footsteps that you envisioned them. But what if your child wants to take a different career? Should you let your kids choose their own path?
“Why should I let my kid decide for his/her own career path?”
While parents play a significant role in their child’s overall growth and development, their involvement starts to decrease as their teen gets older. It is around this stage where senior high schoolers and college students are starting to explore their individuality and “find themselves”—-their gender, their goals and their interests.
To say that your kids aren’t you is an understatement. One of the most common mistakes parents do is to think their child is an extension of themselves. And what most don’t realize is that no matter how hard you try to push your children to like the things you want them to, the teens will still develop their own preferences.
Children who don’t get to explore their identities might experience role confusion, not knowing who they are and their place in this world. This can affect their personal social relationships, leaving them disappointed and confused.
Does this imply that you should just let their kids do what they want to do with their life? Definitely not, but this is where a parent’s role shifts from control to advice. In fact, students who feel supported and loved by their parents have more confidence in their own ability to find career information and to choose a career that would be interesting and exciting to them (Keller, 2004). This will help them make wise career choices later in life.
“So how can I help my child in choosing the right path for them?”
Let them explore
Allow your child to be exposed to various activities that will help them discover their strengths, skills, talent, or passion. Aside from regular schooling, you can also encourage them to attend career fairs, volunteer their time, or apply for internship programs. The more exposed they are, the more they’ll gain perspective on their career options.
Manage your expectations
You don’t have to feel bad if your child chooses a different career path from what you believe he or she would do well in. Though it’s natural to feel happy or disappointed about their successes and setbacks, remember that you are not the only factor influencing their decisions and it shouldn’t affect your view of yourself as a parent. Young people need to have a chance to make their own decisions. They need to learn the consequences of their actions whether good or bad.
Stop basing your child’s achievements on the accomplishments of their siblings, peers, or anyone else. Every child has their own strength and weaknesses. If they should choose a seemingly unpopular course or have a lower paying job than others, it doesn’t mean they are lacking.
Don’t rush them
It’s normal if, by this time, your child still doesn’t know what strand to take in senior high. Many young people don’t find their passion right away; some even take a gap year. Pressuring them to take a path that they are not sure of can only lead to frustration. What your child needs most at this point are your patience and support.
Let your kids choose their own path
Lastly, don’t deny your child the victorious feeling of finding out and proving that they’re able to do something good for themselves, and not just because of mom or dad.
Robert J. Hedaya. (2010, June 30). The Teenager’s Brain. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/health-matters/201006/the-teenagers-brain
Kendra Cherry. (2018, October 23). Identity vs. Role Confusion: Understanding Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development. Retrieved from https://www.verywellmind.com/identity-versus-confusion-2795735
Briana Keller. (2004, September 1). Parental Behaviors that Influence Adolescents’ Career Development. Retrieved from https://www.ncda.org/aws/NCDA/pt/sd/news_article/4911/_PARENT/CC_layout_details/false