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Career Planning 101: A Parents’ Guide to Helping your Kids make the Right Career Choice

Parents perform multifarious roles in the rearing of their children. One of these is guiding their children’s career development and career decision-making. Studies have shown that students’ confidence in making the right career choice is bolstered when they feel the love and support of their parents.

If you as a parent, are genuinely interested in helping your child choose the right course of study after high school, the following tips will prove very helpful:

1. Be a good role model as a parent to your child.

Your influence as a parent has a significant impact on the career choice a child makes. A child will unconsciously pick up his/her parents’ morals, ideals, a way of thinking and outlook on life in his/her daily encounter with them. Parents will show by their work ethics the value they have for their work.

2. Stress the value of education and its impact on the child’s future. 

Point out to the child the important role education plays in one’s success in life. The higher one’s educational attainment is, the greater are one’s chances of finding a job that is both rewarding and fulfilling.

3. Recognize the talents, skills, and interests your child possesses and do your best to develop your child’s potentials.

When a child manifests a particular interest in sports, arts, writing, dramatic activities or public speaking, encourage this and support this rather than discouraging him/her because it is not to your liking. Develop an open mind when a child chooses a career based on his talents, skills, and interests. Imposing one’s personal choice of a career on the child often results in mental health problems, family disagreements, and delinquent behavior.

4. Provide as much knowledge as possible and hands-on experiences to the child with regards to the world of work.

Help your child get hold of as much information about different careers by surfing the Internet, accompanying the child to Open Days/House in colleges and universities, meeting noted professionals, entrepreneurs, sports personalities, etc., and providing hands-on experiences at home for the child to appreciate the value of work.

5. Guide the child to gain skills in decision-making.

Provide opportunities and situations at home where it is the child who makes the decisions. Training the child in this skill will greatly help in making the right choice of career he/she will pursue in life.

6. Engage the child in activities that will shape his/her life when he/she grows up.

Providing the child with wholesome activities while still young will have an influence on what he/she will want to be in the future. A child who is exposed to outdoor activities may choose a career in sports, entertainment, agriculture, tourism or salesmanship.

7. Participate in parent-teacher meetings.

Attending school meetings will enable parents to confer with the class adviser, subject teachers and guidance counselor regarding the child’s school performance and an assessment of their child’s strengths, weaknesses, talents, interests, and skills.

8. Develop a close relationship with you and your child.

Parents should refrain from giving negative comments about the careers their child are considering. Keep the lines of communication open and discuss with your child the opportunities which each career offers. It is important to begin talking about careers as early as possible. Do not wait for the child to be in senior high school in making the final choice for course to study after high school.

9. Remember that as a parent your role is to act as a facilitator.

In the child’s search for the right choice of a career, it should be the child who should make the final decision. Parents should refrain from imposing their own goals on their children.

10. A few rules to remember:

Be concerned but do not push
Share your ideas but do not impose
Lend a hand but do not lead.

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Dr. Evelina Viloria is a former assistant division superintendent of the Division of City Schools of Manila. She is the mother of three kids, who have made career decisions independently. Her sons Edueve and Careli are nurses at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Hospital. Her eldest daughter, Lites, is a political science, law and social entrepreneurship graduatel, and heads Philippine operations of Edukasyon.ph. 


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