Your Kid's Career 'Whose Choice?
A strange thing happened to me today. Or more precisely, a
strange thought occurred. You see, my eldest son
helped me install a new kitchen. He was the expert handyman.
Me? Well, I was the 'gofor':
"Dad, could you go for this?"
"Dad, will you go for that ..."
And you know, it took me back to my childhood. I used to
stand by MY dad's side, helping him mend this and build
that. What a pride I took in those days, holding a plank of
wood at one end while he measured it, or going into his
toolbox to fetch a bigger screwdriver. The master and the
Yet despite all my admiration, I never quite mastered the
secrets of DIY. In my own house, I muddle through jobs as
best I can, or just leave them undone. Occasionally I'll
send for a tradesman.
Yet somehow I raised a son who, like his Grandad, can turn
his hand to anything 'while I STILL stand and watch!
This particular creative talent managed to skip a
generation, only to re-emerge with a flourish in my boy.
There lies the crux of this article.
We each discover our own talents, leanings, and strong
points. As a teacher I hear so many kids complain about
their parents, who 'with the best will in the world! -
force their kids into curriculum choices or career paths
which say more about the parents and their
Why do so many of us insist on directing, or even
dictating, career choices for our kids?
Many possible reasons spring to mind:
- perhaps we compensate for our own lack of
- or we want to bask in the reflected glory
- we fear that if we don't push them, their talents will
remain unused or under-developed
- maybe we think we'll lose face with our neighbours,
friends or family if our child doesn't enter a high profile
or glamorous 'profession'
- or maybe we just feel that as parents we know
Talk about a recipe for disaster!
Trying to live our own lives through our kids tends
to fill them with resentment. Go along this path and we'll
soon encounter a breakdown in relationships, and our kids
will seethe with unhappiness and a lack of fulfilment.
Sometimes our children may even go along with our wishes
because they want to please. They feel grateful for all
we've done and don't want to disappoint us. The outcome here
can be even more insidious: if a child or young person
lacks one hundred per cent commitment to the path we choose
for them, it can manifest itself in low achievement,
depression and even physical illness.
What a waste of everyone's time, energy, talents and
On the other hand, we do want to guide them, don't
we? We instinctively know we should give them the
benefit of our experience.
So how do we go about it?
The key lies in ENCOURAGEMENT.
From the earliest possible age, encourage your child to be
confident, positive, and optimistic.
And observe them in all they do. Cherish their uniqueness,
and enjoy seeing their individual talents unfold.
Avoid forcing any issues; concentrate on encouraging growth
and development, even if 'especially if! 'their talents
take them along a road unfamiliar to you. Often, what a
parent least expects develops into a major plus in their
Strive for open and unbiased expectations. If ballet dancing
interests your child, encourage him or her to research that
activity, try it out, and make a confident, realistic
appraisal 'don't try to force them into medicine or the law
In high school some teachers encourage kids to make their
curriculum choices to suit future career aspirations. But
this stresses many unsure kids. My advice has borne fruit
over the years: "Choose what you're best at and what
you enjoy most. The rest will take care of itself!"
And it does.
Again, encourage confidence and optimism.
Because today and in the future, most of our kids will not
enjoy the luxury previous generations enjoyed 'a job for
life. Our kids need adaptability in order to face change
willingly and without fear.
By encouraging them to follow their hearts, we can do much
to help them.
Why do some parents and children succeed, while others fail? Frank McGinty is an internationally published author and teacher. If you want to develop your parenting skills and encourage your kids to be all they can be, visit his web pages, http://www.frank-mcginty.com/peace-formula.html AND http://www.frank-mcginty.com/for-parents.html
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