A Strong Foundation Building For Your Child Is A Must: Start Before It’s Too Late

The bond between a parent and a child is special, isn’t it? We connect with our parents through screams and cries and smiles and laughter when we are young. And yet as we grow old this unique channel of communication that once understood literal gibberish that came out of our mouth, slowly loses its thread. At least it seems that way for a time. More often than not, this happens when children are in their teenage years. And the primary area of conflict – their career choice.   

In our years of experience in career counselling, we have often seen that there’s a gap between students’ interests and their parents’ expectations regarding the right career choice. This is the source of much conflict, tension, and stress. Call it the generation gap, age gap, or any other name; neither party feels like they are on the wrong side of the line. Then who is?

I guess it doesn’t really matter who’s wrong and who’s right. What matters is that this gap in thoughts and expectations is not only disheartening but also complicates the process of making the right career choice. Because students need the support of their parents as they pursue higher education, not just financially but also emotionally. And parents at the end of the day want to see their child have a successful life and career. 

The bottom line is – we need to bridge this gap between students and parents. How?

Well, both parents and children have to do their part. 

For Parents – How Can You Help Your Child Make the Right Career Choice

According to the Global Survey of Parents report by Varkey Foundation, 62% of Indian parents with kids between the ages of 4-18 years spend on average 7 hours or more every week helping their children with schoolwork and studies. 

Well, that just confirms what most of us already knew – Indian parents are very involved when it comes to their child’s education. And while it’s a commendable thing during the primary years of a child; it can be a little too much as they grow old. 

Don’t take us wrong! We understand that what you think and do for your child is out of love and a wish to see them be successful. But what you have to understand is that at some point they have to make their own decisions. And career choice is one such thing!

You can be supportive, you can encourage them, guide them, and help them gather the right information – but ultimately students have to make their career choices on their own. After all, they are the ones who are going to live with that choice for the rest of their lives. 

Observe Your Child’s Interests and Talents

Nobody knows your child better than you do. You have seen them as they take their first step and say their first word. So observe your child, see what activities or areas of study interest them, how they react to certain situations, what subjects or topics they are inclined towards, and what their preferred method of learning is. These observations will give you a good idea about the interests, strengths, and talents of your child. 

Help them cultivate these interests to see if they can make a career out of it. 

You can also use psychometric tests to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your child to get a better perspective of what their ideal career could be. 

Keep Yourself Updated About New-age Careers

If we asked you what are the possible careers, off the top of your head, you would like your child to pursue – how many can you think of? 3? 5? 7? 

On average, most Indian parents consider at most 7 possible career prospects – most of them pretty conventional like engineering, medicine, law, computer science, business management, finance, etc. And we understand the appeal of such conventional career choices – they are popular, reliable, and secure.

But there are so many new-age careers today that provide all the same too! Moreover, these careers are tailored to fit the requirements of today’s world. There’s a study by Dell Technology and the Institute For The Future on the Future of Economy that shows that the careers that are going to be popular and most relevant by 2030 haven’t been invented yet!

You can’t look at the past to decide on the future of your child. So do your research and keep yourself up-to-date about the new-age careers. 

Avoid Comparisons and Being Dismissive of Your Child’s Interest

Okay… now that we have covered a few things that you can do to bridge the gap between yourself and your child’s thoughts on their career choice, here are two things you really MUST NOT do. 

Comparing Your Child with Someone 

Sadly, a lot of parents are guilty of that. And whatever the motivation for doing that might be, no actual good ever comes with such comparisons. All it will do is make your kid more resentful and give them the idea that they aren’t good enough. 

Your child may not get as many marks as some other kids but might have other qualities and talents that are unique to him. So encourage them and help them cultivate that talent. 

Being Dismissive of Your Child’s Interest

Okay, I get it that students often come up with whimsical career choices, often something that you would not have heard of. Sometimes they are confused and fancy a career they think is popular. But being dismissive about it outright is not the way to go. 

It takes a lot of courage on your kid’s part when they come and talk about a possible career choice. Being dismissive about it without a thought will discourage them from speaking to you openly about their career and shut the channel of communication in an instant. It will also make them more defensive and less open to discussion. 

And perhaps your child really has really thought about the career choice done the research and has a plan. You need to discuss with them their interests and career prospects for a healthy way of finalizing a career choice. 

For Students – What Can You Do To Convince Your Parents About Your Career Choice

Hey…enough of the blame game. Parents are not always the villains you make them out to be. Besides, take note of what J K Rowling said in her Harvard Commencement address. 

“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, the responsibility lies with you.”  

Besides, sure you can blame all the conflict on your parents and scream that they don’t understand you or your career choice. But where does it get you? Nowhere. 

If you think your choice of career is your ideal career choice then help your parents understand why you think so. Convince them, and show them you really believe you can achieve all they expect you to achieve while following your dreams. 

And here’s how you do it.

Know the Difference Between a Hobby and a Career

First things first. If you have an interest that you are passionate about – that’s great. But there is a next, very important step – Think about how this interest can translate into a career. Knowing the difference between a hobby and a career is crucial. 

Want an example? Reading is a hobby. You can be a voracious reader and be in love with books more than any other creature on earth – but it is still a hobby. It won’t earn you any living. Now if you want this hobby to become a career – you have to look for jobs that require reading. So, if books are what you are passionate about then do your research about careers like book editor, copyeditor, literary agent, even librarian!

Have a Plan! A Long Term Plan. 

This might be the only time we say this, but Don’t Be Like Phoebe!

Have a plan for your career. Especially when you want to discuss your career choice with your parents. Because if you are going to suggest any unconventional career, chances are that your parents won’t know much about it. 

So you will need to help them understand what the career is all about, what your future look will like if you pursue it, and most importantly why you think you are it is the right career choice for you. 

Moreover, planning doesn’t just mean finalizing a career path. That is just the first step. You will need to plan for every eventuality – what subjects to select, what college admission to aim for, how to build a profile to get you into that college, and more.

Know Where  You Stand for Dream College Admission – Check your Profile Score

Want to convince your parents – plan your career choice like a business report – have your goals, outcomes, and timelines ready!

It’s Not What You Say But How You Say It

This is a very important thing that you need to keep in mind while talking to your parents about anything, let alone discussing your possible future career plan – Don’t Be Rude. 

If your parents agree on your career choice – that’s fantastic! But if they don’t you don’t need to channel your inner rebel to make your point. You also don’t need to despair. Come up with another plan. Understand why your parents are resisting the idea of such a career, why they think it won’t work, and what their fears are. Address their issues and help them understand your point. 

There is no guarantee this discussion will end in one conversation. If your parents aren’t convinced today, then get more information about this career prospect and discuss it again. You can take help from your seniors, friends, or school alumni to show your parents how successful pursuing this career path can be. 

If you are really passionate about a career and know that this is your ideal path, sooner or later your parents will see it too and support you for it. You just need to believe in your own self enough. 

Career Counselling: A Way to Bridge the Gap Between Students and Their Parents

We understand that whether you are a student planning for the future or a parent looking out for your child’s future, making a career choice is a very important decision. And it’s easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and ideas when you are passionately trying to show that your way works best. But sometimes it’s better to understand the perspective of the person in front of you. After all, deciding one’s future can’t be done without taking into account all the pros and cons and hearing every side of the argument. 

One of the best ways for students and parents to understand each other’s perspectives and concerns and arrive on the same page is by seeking career counselling. An expert career counsellor will act as an unbiased mediator between both parties and help you arrive at the right career decision. They take into account the point of view and opinions of both students and parents and help them understand one another better. 

At Univariety, our career counsellors do not move forward unless a consensus can be reached between the student and parent. They take special care that whatever career choice the student makes has the support and backing of their parents.

So book an appointment with a career counsellor near you today!

Talk to Us About Career Counselling!

Payal is an avid reader and compulsive writer who thinks being able to pen words is her primary life skill. She loves giving her blogs a quirky spin that sets them apart from the rest. After all, who would mind a bit of Sherlock or Jack Sparrow in a blog on career counselling!

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