There are so many things anxious parents do for their children. They don’t want to stifle their children into making choices by forcing options on them.
Choosing a career was perhaps not a priority for men and women of the 20th century, so long as it paid the bills. Parents often have stories to share about how they started working early. Trainee engineers or intern at some workplace while completing their college degrees.
However, there are innumerable career options available for youth today, and jobs created all the time. So when should you start working on helping your child to choose a career for themselves? The truth is, there is no time like now. Start as early as you can.
WHAT SHOULD PARENTS DO FOR CHILDREN
It is a changing world today; skills like emotional intelligence, planning, and management, communication, and being a team player are equally important. All these contribute to a person’s IQ and qualification. We have to involve our child in such activities and gameplay that allow opportunities for quick thinking, planning, etc. Help them identify their particular interests and strengths by talking with them and initiating discussions at fruitful times.
THE FOUR-STEP PROGRAM
The 4-step program helps children choose a career that they are passionate about to do in their lives. She advocates starting the career discussion with children as early as 12 years of age. First, the parents to pass on their wisdom to children, and counsel them regarding the better choices in life.
The first step is observation, whereby the parents observe their children for their interests, talents, and abilities. Ask yourself if they are particularly good at certain subjects and how they like to spend their time. What gets them fired up, are people or places that they would agree to visit at the drop of a hat.
The next step is selection, in which parents or guardians are to bring up careers and occupations in conversations. It is best to share possible professional choices for the children. The discussion would also trigger your child to think and reveal if they have something in mind for themselves.
YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND
The child may not understand what any career may entail, and what kind of subjects they ought to take. You are to help them research and perhaps even take them to meet professionals that they can talk to and question. Introduce them to a trusted mentor that they can look up to as a guide who is more knowledgeable than you are in terms of your child’s inquiries.
Selection is followed by immersion and evaluation, which involves the parents adding relevant courses of study to the child’s curriculum and seeing how that works out for their little ones. If they get bored or lose interest, that is a cue for you to go back to step 2 even if that means giving up a selected subject. If they retain interest, however, and it grows into a passion, Joy says, that is good. Either way, they would have learned some good things.
When they have chosen a career path, the final step is laying out a plan. It helps them take it all the way through college or university. Starting early implies that you have a lot of time on hand to explore with your children and for them to refine their choices. Sometimes children may discover that they like something but not enough to live their life around it. Time and study can clarify what they can find into a passion and what should remain a hobby.
BREAK IT DOWN
Alisa Weinstein, author of ‘Earn it, learn it,’ was with her daughter at the supermarket when she four-year old’s begging for lip gloss drew an instinctive remark from her: ‘Get a job and pay for it yourself.’ It gave Weinstein the idea to author the book that breaks down adult careers into small, doable chunks for children. Instead of paying her daughter Mia the usual way, i.e., by doing chores, she would spend her on testing out a job.
For instance, Mia made out a list of fifteen family members and friends and asked them to choose from a list of three ice-cream flavors. Weinstein paid her upon the submission of her results. Mia loved these, and her appreciation for money grew. Since parents these days are already thinking of ways to get their children to learn money management, Alisa wrote her book as a solution to parents’ dilemma. It is an exciting way to get older children to learn about careers and finances too.
Her best advice for parents of young children is to identify strengths, rather than careers as that is a sure way to limit their options. List all possible jobs and let them explore. Use your contacts to give them exposure rather than boxing them into a field of your choice. Please encourage them to pursue their passion and go for internships. Summer jobs are also a sure way to teach responsibility.
EXPLORE WITH YOUR CHILDREN
For children well into their teenage years or older, the pressure to choose and quickly, starts mounting and they panic. You should explore career fairs with them and attend seminars and workshops that allow exposure to different professions. Career counselors play a significant role by counseling children on the various opportunities available out there today. One can also start by visiting the job portals in your state or country, which lists the career profiles that one can explore.
Encourage your child to independently look within themselves and choose what they would like to do with their years. Please do not force your opinion on your child, so that they do not feel restricted in their choices. Children exposed to different professionals from childhood find it easier to make up their minds, to research and think.
Talking to people and job shadowing provide perfect opportunities for a closer look into the different occupations. Ensure that you encourage persistence in your child’s efforts. They may not like one aspect of a career path but may discover their interest upon spending more time with it.