How to Help Your Child Choose a Career Path

As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your child. They’ve worked hard to get good grades in school and are now thinking about careers. While it’s easy to make suggestions about possible paths, it’s better to let them tell you what they really want to do. After all, everyone needs to be happy with their career choices. But how exactly do you guide them in the right direction? If you’re not sure what to do, below are ways you can help your child choose the right career.

Education First

If your child has their heart set on a career that requires a specific skillset, then they might already have a few colleges in mind. In addition to choosing one that has the right program, they also need to consider the cost of their degree. If they’re not eligible for financial aid, they may ask you to cosign a loan. As much as you want to help them reach their career goals, you also need to ask yourself, should I cosign a private student loan? Being a cosigner means you’re also responsible for repaying the loan if they aren’t able to. What’s more is that if they fall behind on payments, it could negatively impact your credit.

Point Out Their Strengths and Passions

If they’re still in school, highlight the habits of highly successful learners and encourage them to speak with their guidance counselor about career paths. If they’re getting ready to go to college, they can still talk to a career counselor about their options. They can take an aptitude test that not only pinpoints their personality type, but also their strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the most common tests to take are Myers-Briggs, Holland Code and Strong Inventory. In addition to formal testing, encourage them to think about what they’re passionate about. What do they love to do in everyday life that they could do as a career? Gen Z is now paving the way for their own generation, as well as others, to transform passions and hobbies into lucrative careers.

Encourage Work Experience

Actual working experience is the best way to determine whether a career path is the right one. Look for ways you can help your son or daughter find a mentor for themselves. There’s no shortage of online groups or networks you can join to facilitate the process.

Say your child wants to become a nutritionist. You can search online for groups that revolve around that topic. Alternatively, you can also look locally and attend events that revolve around healthy living. If you find a suitable mentor, they can then ask if there are any opportunities to job shadow. They’ll gain valuable experience and be able to determine whether the job is a good fit for them.

Help Them Find Their Tribe

As the saying goes, birds of a feather flock together, so finding others who share your child’s passion is also a must. They can ask around school, look to online groups, or even attend local events where they can connect with others.

Be the Example

You’re probably the most influential person in your child’s life, so it’s important that you lead by example. If you hate your job, they’ll pick up on it immediately. They may even associate work with negative feelings and think that they’ll never be able to really find a job they love. If that’s the case, you have two options.

You can find another job that’s your true calling, or you can have a heart-to-heart with them and explain why you’re working the job you currently have and how you plan on finding one you really enjoy. Even if you dislike your current position, it’s important that your son or daughter understand why you feel that way. If they know that being unhappy isn’t the norm, they’ll then understand why they need to take their time finding their way.

Be Supportive

Even if they’re dragging their feet and can’t make up their mind, you need to be patient and supportive. You were their age once as well, so you know first-hand how hard growing up can be. Let them know that you support their decisions and are there to help them any way you can.

One thing you need to remember is not making the decision for them. As much as you want to swoop in and save the day, they need to make their own way in life. That means going through the growing pains we all go through as young adults. They may love the idea of one job, starting work, and discover that it’s just not the right choice for them.

Related reading: 5 Steps To Take When Your Child Is Interested In A Specific Career


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