Studies about Generation Z, or those born from 1996 onward, show that they are on track to be the most educated generation. The study by Pew Research Center found that they are much less likely to drop out of high school and are more likely to pursue higher education through college. This is good news because it means that the next generation is on track to have so much more than what previous generations could not achieve.
But at the same time, parents need to find ways to guide their kids through their career choices and not direct or impose upon their kids. Often, parents push their kids towards more prestigious careers that will give them the most financial security or safer options. But the world is changing, and our parenting styles must also evolve with it if we truly want the best for our kids. Here are some pointers for helping guide your children through a future career.
Deal with your own hang-ups first
One of the worst things we can do as parents is to transfer our biggest disappointments and hang-ups to our children. This often manifests in pushing them to achieve the dreams we couldn’t. So many parents are not even aware they’re doing this, which is why the best thing we can do for our kids is to deal with our own professional wounds first.
If you had a dream job that you couldn’t pursue, don’t expect your kids to achieve it for you. Your children are not an extension of you; they are their own persons, with their own personalities, hopes, dreams, skills, talents, desires, and futures. Don’t ask them to finish what you couldn’t. Healthy boundaries are key.
Help them discover their interests and strengths
There are plenty of tests your child can take to understand their strengths. A career counselor can help with this, and they can help you find the best aptitude tests that can determine where your child’s strengths and passions lie. Another way to do this is to let them try new things. Allow them to try out for the soccer team, let them go to piano lessons, hire a dance teacher for them. The possibilities are endless, and your child won’t know what they truly enjoy and what they’re good at unless they try.
Understand how the current education system can help them
You need to maximize your country’s current education system to your child’s advantage. Now is the best time to gain an insight into how the current system can help spur your child’s career forward.
If you don’t understand some things, you can partner with their teachers to find answers to your questions. What is STEM in senior high? Do they need to take business courses if they want to start a business one day? How will taking AP classes help them in looking for a job when the time comes? Leverage the current educational system to help pave the way for your child—but make sure you ask for your child’s opinions first before you make big plans!
Walk the talk
When it comes to effective parenting, one of the things you need to prioritize is practicing what you preach and setting a good example. Instead of just telling your kids what they need to do, you need to set a blueprint for them to follow so that they can have a life they don’t regret.
If you have a career you’re proud of, bring your kids to work so that they can see what you’re doing. Casually tell them about how you decided on the course you took for college, why all the hard work was worth it, and why they need to find their own way in the world, just like you did. When your kids see you building a professional life that you love and makes you feel fulfilled, they will also be encouraged to build the same kind of life as well.
Don’t be overbearing, but be encouraging and kind
At the end of the day, what will truly give your child the confidence they need to pursue their passions and a lifelong career is the security that their parents have their backs even if they fail. As a parent, you need to understand that finding a career can be a long and tedious process that involves experimenting and self-discovery.
Help encourage towards the right path but don’t direct. Understand that they might change courses multiple times. Be there for them every step of the way and believe in them. Believe in your ability to parent, too.