Knowing how to best support your child as they enter adolescence and begin thinking about their future career can be tough. You want to give them the space to explore their own interests and find their own way. On the other hand, you want to ensure they’re prepared for the real world and choose a career path that is both practical and fulfilling. So, how can you strike the right balance?
Discuss the Importance of Career Planning
One of the most crucial things you can do is talk to your child about the importance of planning for their future career. Help them understand that their career choice will significantly impact their future happiness and success. Encourage them to start thinking about what they want to do with their life and what kind of work would make them happy.
Your child might still have no idea what they wish to pursue as a career. And that’s okay! Part of the teenage years is exploring different interests and trying new things. So, rather than pressuring them to pick a specific career path, start by letting them know why career planning is critical and to help them explore their options and interests.
Choosing for Them vs. Letting Them Choose
Some parents would instead tell their kids what career to take in hopes of setting their kids up for success. They would select a job they feel would benefit their children most or pay well in the future.
Other parents would rather let their kids choose what they want to do for a living. They believe it is more vital for their children to be happy in their chosen careers than to make a lot of money.
It can be challenging to decide which route to take, but remember that your child is ultimately the one who will have to live with their career choice. So, while you need to give them guidance, try not to push them too hard in any one direction.
You can help them make a more informed decision by sharing your career experiences. Talk about what you like and don’t like about your job. Discuss the pros and cons of different career paths. The goal is to help them understand that there are many factors to consider when choosing a career, including salary, job satisfaction, work/life balance, etc.
Exploring Their Interests and Talents
Kids often have difficulty knowing their interests because parents don’t give them enough space and opportunity to explore. As a result, some kids determine a college or career path their parents want for them instead of something they’re actually interested in.
You can help your child by giving them opportunities to try new things and explore their interests. If they show an interest in a particular activity or subject, encourage them to pursue it further. They might surprise you with their talents and abilities!
It also helps to expose them to different situations to check if they would like it. For example, you can bring them to your office and let them experience what it’s like to work in your field. Or, if they’re interested in arts, you can take them to a museum or let them try an art class.
Extracurricular activities are another great way for kids to explore their interests, develop new skills, and make friends with similar interests. It’s also a great way to help them stand out when applying to college or for jobs. So, if your child is interested in any particular activity, encourage them to get involved!
Help Your Child Choose the Right School
Part of helping your child plan for their future is choosing the right school. The school they attend will have a big impact on their future success, so make it a point to choose carefully.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a school. This can include the type of curriculum, the location, the cost, and more. Don’t forget to consider the school’s accreditation.
Make sure to research and only choose schools accredited by a reputable organization. This will ensure that your child gets a quality education that will set them up for success in their future career.
You can also consider enrolling your child in a charter school. These schools are publicly funded but have more freedom to innovate and experiment with their curriculum. As a result, they often produce higher-achieving students. With some research, you can find a reputable charter high school for your child that matches their interests and needs. Look for one that has a good track record and is accredited by a reputable organization.
The teen years are a critical time for your child to start planning their future. By giving them the space to explore their interests, helping them choose the right school, and exposing them to different careers, you can set them up for success in whatever they decide to do!
Teach Them Essential Life Skills
Aside from helping your child plan for their future, teach them critical life skills. These skills will help them in any career they choose and make them more successful overall.
Some life skills to teach your child include the following:
- Time Management
- Critical Thinking
- Problem Solving
These skills are essential for success in any field. They need to learn how to manage their time, stay organized, think critically, communicate effectively, solve problems, and be creative.
You can instill these values in your child by setting a good example. If you’re always running late or forgetting things, they’ll think it’s okay to do the same. But if you’re punctual and organized, they’ll learn to be the same way.
Make sure to give them opportunities to practice these skills. For example, have them help you with projects around the house or at work. They can also join extracurricular activities, such as debate clubs or mock trials, to hone their skills.
The teen years are a critical time for your child to start planning their future. By giving them the space to explore their interests, helping them choose the right school, and exposing them to different careers, you can set them up for success in whatever they choose to do!