The Path: Should We Help Our Children Towards a Realistic Career Choice?

As our children get older, we become more acutely aware of their abilities. As we strive to develop their learning skills, we may start to notice they have their eye on a certain career path, and this may throw up a whole heap of conflict within us. We may think that the choice of career is not going to be lucrative, and we think that they need to go down a less adventurous path. But is this something we should actually be doing? Should we encourage our children to pursue sturdy careers? Are there any grounds for arguing that they should rather be an accountant than an actor, for example? 

Should We Focus on Careers or Strengths?

In a psychological sense, it’s better to identify what your children’s strengths are at the outset. You may think that they should be a doctor, but when it comes down to the abundance of medical school applications, there’s a lot of other practical tests that need to be done. And these tests don’t just assess aptitude in the subject, but also their personality and if they have the fortitude to deal with the everyday pressures of the role. We have to remember that it’s not just about the subject matter, but it’s about having the overall fit in a personal sense. This is why we need to focus on strengths. There’s a number of ways you can test this by asking your child to take a personality test, such as the Strong Interest Inventory, or the more widely known Myers Briggs test.

Provide the Right Level of Support Without Being Overbearing

When our children are expressing interests in certain career paths, you’ve got to be aware of the balance in supporting their needs, but without being what they call a helicopter parent. Your child might be of the age where they start going to job interviews, and you may feel that you need to accompany them, but it’s important to be there in a supporting role rather than directing their every move. It’s important to remember that it is their career, not yours.

Providing Insight Into the World of Work

When you are getting frustrated with your job, this could be sending a signal to your child that they should not try that career path, but it’s important to remember that many jobs have an element of work that nobody necessarily wants to do. And this is a very important lesson for our children to learn. Choosing their ideal career can mean finding something that is a 90% perfect fit. Your child has the final say in what they want to do, and if they are choosing a career that has nothing to do with yours, it’s understandable that they are only reacting against what they’ve seen their entire lives.

This is why it is important for you to help them experience their chosen career by immersing themselves in the subject matter. Again, you should not do these things for them, but allow them to come up with their own opinions on if this is a job that suits them. Likewise, when they find a career that they like, but they are put off by a personality or someone is trying to make life difficult for them, we have to remember that there will be challenges in every area of life, and it shouldn’t put them off if they really want to do that job.

Remember, a Career Does Not Always Equal Happiness!

One of the biggest lessons we can all learn in choosing a career is about doing something that makes us happy. It is something that may seem silly to say, but it’s far better to choose a career that makes you happy rather than pays the big bucks. While the cost of living increases exponentially, for a sense of contentment in life, it’s important to choose a location that gives you the reasons to get up in the morning. 

But sometimes, as parents, we look at things from a more practical perspective. We don’t want our children to go without, and this is why we want our children to choose a career that is more prominent because it provides that all-important safety blanket. But this is where we should really be focusing on the idea of happiness in life, rather than just the idea of earning a big paycheck. 

It’s entirely possible to do something that we don’t necessarily like but still have a happy life. Many people think that they need high-powered jobs because this will give them the lifestyle they need, but those people who work all hours under the sun do not have a good quality of life, and they always regret working so much.

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