Parents have an important role in career planning
March 1, 2021
The role of parents in career coaching and supporting career planning for youth.
by Nagham Najjar
This is the second in a series on how parents can help teens with career planning.
From the first early moments when we hold our children between our arms after birth, we wish the best for them in their lives and we start thinking of ways to keep them happy and satisfied.
When asking a child the famous question: “what are you going to be when you grow up?,” we, as parents, are teaching him or her to think about their future life and this teaching will be part of what is called career planning.
Many parents feel worried about losing their influence and they try to let their children search for answers from their peers and friends. But, research and talking with teenagers reveals evidence that teens look to their parents as their first and main source for help. They need their advice and support in the critical time when they are facing biological and educational transition.
As our children enter high school, they will start thinking and imagining how their future will be and what occupation they will be practicing. And here, as parents, we want to secure their happiness and success in their decisions. We play the role of motivators who constantly encourage our children to work hard and never give up even if they experienced some failure before achieving their desired path. (Keller, 2004).
We, as parents, can be good and positive influencers in informing our children’s career decisions. But we should always be aware that over involvement can result in negative outcomes. We should always take into consideration that our children are unique and they are different from us. They have their own personalities, goals and talents that should be respected and supported. (Nucci, 1996).
We as parents should give our children the chance to discover and explore their identities on their own and always remember that not everyone's the same. Some children have good writing skills, others have good communication skills, and others are good in sports. So parents should work on guiding their children based on their interests and abilities so the result is having a happy satisfied child.
Parents can get some help through personality tests and games. Games will stimulate conversations between children and their parents which will result in knowing the child better through his way of thinking and his future plans. By this, the stressful atmosphere that both parents and children are facing will fade and more accuracy in decision making will result.
Parents can plan with their children a schedule to discuss various academic programs. Children can take notes of application and testing requirements. In addition, parents can encourage their children to invest more time in knowing colleges and universities by signing up for newsletters, attending virtual tours, and looking at their social media platforms because children in this stressful period of time become more worried and anxious due to the feeling of uncertainty. Research since the start of the pandemic revealed that 43% of children between 12 and 16 suffer from anxiety and stress. (Government of Canada, Feb.2021) So, it is our role as parents to work on relieving their anxiety and work on letting them benefit from the situation now by having time to enhance certain skills, know themselves more by working on personality tests that show their strengths and weaknesses, what they are good at and what future career they may be successful at.
In addition to that, parents should be aware that their children’s ideas about careers and the future change over time. Each age has different needs and priorities.Parents need to know that and respond to each age wisely regarding questions about school, personality, and career. So, the parent’s role is to guide and assist their children in making choices and decisions.
We need to develop their readiness to enter the post-secondary level instead of pressuring them. We need to always remember that our role is to advise but not to decide on their behalf and be involved in their decisions but not to control them.
Nagham Najjar lives in Kitchener with her husband and her two boys aged six and nine. She has a Bachelor in Business Administration and anticipates receiving her Career Development Professional Graduate Certificate. She has six years experience as a School College Counsellor working with students between 15 and 18 years old regarding their academic achievements and career path.