Watching your child grow from a child with a head full of dreams about wanting to become a princess, a superhero, a doctor, and many more can be warming to the heart, but as reality inches closer to them, you feel compelled to guide them in making the right decisions for their future.
There’s nothing wrong with feeling this way, but if you choose to engage and get involved, make sure you’re doing it for your own good, and not because you want your own future secured. Not having the right intentions with you as you get involved can lead you to be a helicopter parent who doesn’t let their child do as they please. You won’t like how being that type of parent affects your relationship with your child.
Not denying that you want what’s best for them, you should also consider that they are their own people with the freedom to make choices. Your parental instinct to steer them in the right direction should only be a form of guidance, and not something they have to follow or submit to when it comes to making choices that concern their careers or studies.
How can you guide them about careers?
Once they hit a certain age, teenagers begin to explore things and visualize themselves as people who they want to become after they earn a degree or learn for a few years more. They get to a point where they become so sure of something, that they take steps to achieve that something. It feels good to watch them work hard for the things they want as parents, but it can also be soul-crushing to see them meet a few struggles here and there.
Watching them struggle makes you want to jump in and save them, but sometimes, it’s much better to walk away and let them learn. Or you can offer to help from a distance.
But how can you really see things through with them without overstepping or seeming like you care too little?
1. Teach them about self-awareness.
Don’t wait until they encounter a problem with their careers when they’re older before you teach them about self-awareness. It’s an important value that will help your child discover themselves, give them important skills such as determination, patience, and empathy.
Self-awareness will tell them all about their own feelings, behaviors, and traits. Being aware of those things helps them understand themselves and others much better.
2. Be with them as they explore and build interests.
It’s impossible for you not to know what your children love to spend their time in. Being aware of what they love to do will help you teach them more things about those things or help them build skills that will help them discover future career paths.
Once your child hits a certain age, somewhere between the end of high school and college, expect them to look for guidance using programs for career development. Don’t get offended if they pick to get advice from professionals and not you. They consider you more of emotional support rather than a professional one. As someone older, you should be aware that it isn’t easy to pick a career path when you don’t know anything about the future.
If they ask for your guidance, provide willingly. If not, watch them do their thing and step in when asked.
3. Teach them about the value of work.
It’s good to keep them aware of the value they should be looking for in terms of the work they want to do when they’re old enough. Don’t teach them about working as a way to make ends meet. Tell them that working should be your way of learning, growing, and also making money.
They should be taught that jobs should be something that fulfills you as a person, and not something that exhausts you five days a week. They’ll burn out fast, which can lead to them being unsure of their careers. Teaching them the importance of knowing when to take a break is also just as important as teaching them the value of work.
Resisting the urge to step in when our children are struggling with making choices can be difficult, but part of raising a child is letting them walk on their own. Letting them do things on their own doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care enough to let them make their own decision and you trust them to make the best ones for themselves.