Picture this: a successful young professional is looking for a job in a city far from his hometown. He brings along his two parents so that they can approve his career choice and even the place he will stay in. It sounds like it came from a TV sitcom, but the reality is that it is happening far too often than we realize it. Professionals from the younger generation always seem to rely too much on their parents for almost everything – career included. They are not entirely to blame though, since the parents also watch over everything their children do with so much focus that the children don’t have any room to exercise their freedom of choice in anything. If you’re a parent that is nervous about your children’s life, then it might be time to step back and follow these tips to help your child’s career without keeping a tight rein on him.
Nurture Their Interests
You should understand that each child is a unique individual with their own values, interests, strengths, abilities, and weaknesses. Just because you were good at math doesn’t mean that your child will ‘grow into it later’ or something like that. While your child is young, you might have already noticed what their interests are, and your role as a parent is to nurture these to help them tap into their potential. For example, if your child has an artistic side, then pushing them towards the medical sciences might not be a very reasonable idea. Of course, it can be daunting for your part, especially if you don’t know much about certain careers related to certain interests. You can do some research on your own as your child grows up so you will have a good idea about their possible career options.
Visit the Guidance Office
In other schools, it may be called the college career office. Nevertheless, you should encourage your child to visit it as early as possible so that they will have an idea of their own about career options, internship opportunities, and if there is any career planning assistance offered by the school. This can help empower your child at the same time allowing him to receive advice from another adult so that they know this information is valid and comes from experience in the real world.
Use Local Networks
Talk to your circle (friends, colleagues, and relatives) about your child’s job concerns. It might seem like you’re doing the work, but it helps your child get their first experience with employment. For example, you could talk to the local grocery where you frequently shop if they are hiring any new hands or something like that. If they have some entry-level work open, you should inform your child so that they will be the one to send the application and prepare for the interview – not you. This is part of letting your child experience what it’s like to prepare for a job and succeed (or fail) depending on the circumstances.
In this part, you can use your experience and knowledge to help your child prepare his own paperwork. It could be the necessary information for writing a resume, or for a job application. After they have finished drafting their first ever resume or application letter, help your child by proofreading it for them, making sure they have no typographical or grammatical errors. If your child needs any legal documents, then point them in the right way but don’t do everything for them. They need to know what it’s like dealing with government offices and the process of getting legal documents of any kind.
Assist with Preparations
You can talk to your child about what to wear for the interview day, what to expect, and any tips or tricks you know of what will help them get that job with ease. You’ve been there before, so you know that nerves and stomach butterflies can be a deadly combination. Helping them practice or prepare for this job application will help them get comfortable with the application process and help keep them relaxed. If your child can’t drive, don’t immediately offer to take them to and from the interview location. Instead, you can assist with coordinating transport like finding out what public transportation they need to take.
Give Free Space but Push
Let your child find their own career path that they are very interested in doing. Even if it’s just their first part time job or volunteer work, let them choose it on their own free will and let them work for it by themselves. It can be difficult for parents to simply sit by the sidelines and watch their children fail, but its part of growing up and your child needs to experience that, so that they will learn from it and grow to be independent individuals.
We said to give free space, but there are times when parents need to push their children to start finding jobs on their own. You can do this by stressing the importance of finding a job with his/her own efforts, but don’t overdo the financial support part. It might be more motivating for your child if they are in charge of one utility bill (like water, gas) in the house.
Instill Good Work Ethics
Regardless of what other people say, good work ethics actually start at home. This can be instilled by you when your child does household chores or even schoolwork. A positive attitude towards your child’s own responsibilities and developing good habits for these are essential. Teach your child the value of hard work, perseverance, motivation and the ability to bounce back from failures by setting reasonably high standards. Remember that even if your child fails, you should always be there to nurture them.
Explore Job Trends Together
As you’ve noticed, we included the word ‘together’. When your child expresses interest for this career field, take time to read together with your child about future job market trends. You can read up together whether these jobs will be obsolete in the future or if it will have a positive forecast. You can check the more detailed information like average income, job hours, working environments and work benefits. After this, you can sit down with your child and discuss what the two of you think about this career field. Your role as a parent is to help your child if the career field they choose can translate into a paying job or not. In addition, you should also understand that there are other meaningful careers out there, it may not be conventional ones like doctors or engineers.
As parents, helping your child’s career can be a difficult task. It is very easy to forget that you are deciding something very important that pertains to your child only. A lot of parents make the mistake of superimposing their frustrations and disappointments with their previous careers onto the children. Remember that your child will be doing it for the rest of their life so the decision should heavily weigh with them.