Sometimes kids know exactly what they want to do from a very young age, and sometimes they genuinely have no idea.
Choosing a career can be an anxious and frustrating time for parents, whether you’re helping your child choose exam options, university courses, or you just want them to settle down and make a choice.
Parents naturally want their kids to do well in school, maybe go to university, get a good job or have a respected career so they can live a comfortable lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But kids are already under lots of pressure just by living and keeping up with today’s rapid-fire pace. By giving them space to reach a career decision in their own time you’ll avoid adding to pressure they already feel. It’s not unusual these days for kids to have no idea what they want to do for the rest of their lives. Many children don’t really know what they want to do up to and beyond year 11 when they’re taking GCSEs.
Talk about it, but don’t let it become forced or urgent sounding. Changing careers or retraining is common, so decisions made early aren’t necessarily cast in stone. Wiser decisions are often made with some maturity and a bit more life experience.
Just about any passion can become a career, so try not to think of pastimes or hobbies as purely spare time activities. You may have a budding games designer locked away upstairs, or the next tennis champion or award-winning film maker. As kids grow up, any passion followed diligently is potential career material.
If children like numbers or analysis, maybe they’ll study accounting later on. If they love English Literature and Writing, maybe they’ll become a novelist or work elsewhere in the publishing industry.
It’s important to expose them to as many different activities as you can. They might not love visiting museums when you’re on holiday but will spend hours exploring rock pools on the beach. They’re probably more interested in sea life than history, and that’s fine. Nurture it, because maybe marine biology is in their future.
Pay attention to the things they love to spend time doing and encourage them to learn all they can about it. Buy them books, magazines, or videos. If their interest coincides with school studies, encourage them to go beyond classroom learning, introducing them to the concept of ‘reading around’ the subject. It’ll stand them in good stead should they go on to university.
Validating and giving importance to their interests helps instil self-confidence. When they know you really are interested in what they’re doing, they’ll be even more willing to include you and ask for your guidance.
When you’ve been out of school or education for a while, it’s easy to get out of touch and not realise how much things have changed in the intervening years.
Fundamentals in education stay pretty much the same, such as learning English and maths and studying foundation subjects like history and geography. But career options can change dramatically over just a few years. It’s even possible there are some careers you’ve never even heard of.
For that reason, you may feel out of your depth when it comes to guiding kids through the maze of possibilities. Similarly, just helping older children wade through university choices and the application process can be daunting if you have no experience of going to uni yourself.
Careers advisers are more than happy to engage with parents as well as their children. If your child is passionate about an industry or career option that’s completely outside your experience, don’t be scared to reach out to them. You won’t be alone, and since the world of work changes so fast you can’t be expected to keep up with absolutely everything.
Most kids work hard to please their parents, and most parents want only the best for their kids. One of the best ways you can help your child choose a career is simply to support and encourage their interests, create somewhere quiet for them to work, and support their choices, whether they’re academic or more vocational.
Thanks for reading xxx
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Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.
I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.
I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.
Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you
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