Have you ever had a friend who at 28 or so, had a successful career going, but was thoroughly miserable because she was in a line of work that she just didn’t enjoy? It happens all the time. People pick a line of work for a friend a parent, a teacher – or just pick a line themselves that they later find just isn’t a good fit for them. Most often, it is a parent who brings pressure to bear on a child at an important crossroads in life. The parent thinks of course that they are doing the best thing for their child, helping them with their years of experience in life. But it’s very difficult for a parent choosing a career for a child to be able to maintain clear separation in their minds about how much of their choice works to please them and how much it is for their child. If you are in a position where you need to help your child in choosing a career, here’s what you need to know.
Helping your child in choosing a career, what you don’t want is to secretly want the pride you will feel to have someone following your footsteps. Your footsteps could be family career in the military, in medicine or in anything else. It would give you pleasure to see this family tradition carried on. “The family tradition” actually happens to be an important thing to primitive societies. In fact, this is what the very unfortunate caste system of India is based on, in some ways. Well sometimes, it can be nice to feel validated having your child choosing what you chose. But it’s only nice if it happens naturally.
A good way to get started at this would be to actually learn to see that your child isn’t an extension of yourself. You child is his own person; and while you may have a few things in common with your child, they really don’t amount to much. The best way to actually understand this would be to listen to your child. You’ll find that he has different talents, dreams and values. And that he actually lives in completely different world to yours. Talk to him without judgment or any pious advice about what interests him. Learn about him. Talk to him about your own choice of career and what you think of it.
The first step to helping your child in choosing a career for himself comes in helping him choose a major in college for himself. All you need to do is to make sure that your child isn’t making some kind of predictable mistake choosing a major – doing something like blindly taking up a major that happens to be fad at the moment or just going along with peer pressure. As long as you know that your child is choosing a major for his own satisfaction, you need to go along with it. Helping your child find a mentor would be a great way to help him prepare to choose a career for himself too.