As a parent, you’ve no doubt supported your child through all sorts of phases in their life up to now. The job of being a parent never ends, but once they’re reaching their late teen years, they’ll be starting to spread their wings and gain more independence than ever before. That’s when your final tasks as a parent take place before they become adults.
Today, we’re going to take a look at one of the things you’ll need to help them with as they transition to adulthood: helping them make the first steps in their career. Finding a career path that makes sense for them and that they want to pursue at this age can be tough. Even knowing where and how to get started is difficult for them.
Being there to assist them and point them in the right direction can make a huge difference. We’re going to talk today about some of the specific things you can do as a parent to guide your teenager as they plan the very first steps in their career. So read on now to find out more.
Show Them the Importance of Being Proactive
First of all, you should teach them some valuable lessons that’ll not only help them as they attempt to take the first steps in their career but that’ll also help them in other areas of their life too. Finding a job is not something that’s just going to happen for them out of nowhere. It’s going to take time and it might be a little while before they find the way forward that’s going to work for them. Being proactive and persevering are two of the most important things you should try to emphasize to them.
Have Open Discussions with Them
It can help to be open and have as many open discussions with them as possible. When you do that, and you’re willing to discuss things that are sometimes difficult and challenging, they’ll at least know that they’re being fully supported by you through this whole process. That’s one of the most important and comforting things of all for many teenages who are thinking about which career path is going to be the right one for them. Simply being willing to talk and starting these kinds of conversations is more important than you might realize.
Help Them Consider What They Enjoy and What They Don’t
Simply going over the basic things and talking out loud about them can make a big difference. This all starts with you talking to them about what they need to consider in terms of what they’re good at and what they enjoy. Basing their career decisions on the things they enjoy in life is certainly not such a bad idea and an option they probably want to consider. You should also have discussions with them about the things that they know they don’t like so they can avoid careers that involve those things.
Work Together to Identify Their Skills
Working together to think about their skills and what they’re generally good at is a wise idea. It’s often easier for a teenager to break into a career and clinch their first job when they can demonstrate the relevant skills they have. Perhaps they already have experience in extracurricular activities that’ll help them to stand out when it comes to applying for jobs. If that’s the case, they’ll already have a good headstart and they’ll be able to start seeking work. Also, it’s generally a good idea to decide on a career in a niche that you’re good at.
Uncover Their Main Aims and Ambitions
Uncovering your child’s aims and ambitions and really thinking about what they want to achieve in life is usually a good idea. Just because they haven’t really communicated these things to you in the past, that doesn’t mean there aren’t things they want to do and want to achieve in life. Every child has some plans in mind and things they’d like to do. Talk to them about these things and let them know how they might best take their next steps towards achieving those goals and ambitions.
Try Not to be Overbearing
One of the things you always have to be careful of when parenting a teenager is being too overbearing. Sometimes, you just need to step back and give them some space. It’s not something that’s always particularly easy to do, but it certainly is important nonetheless. They can end up resenting your help if you place too much pressure on them, and that’s not good for either of you. That’s exactly the scenario you should be looking to avoid as you attempt to help guide your teen with their career.
Don’t Try to Live Vicariously Through Them
One thing you’ll definitely need to try and avoid as you’re helping your child make progress with their early career plans is living vicariously through them. It’s not fair to pressure your child into becoming something that they don’t want to be or to push them into a career that you once wanted to do. It’s’ not healthy for them and it’s not healthy for you either. Unfortunately, it’s still something that happens a little too often, and it usually doesn’t end well.
Direct Them to Resources and Assistance That Might Help Them
There’s so much help and assistance out there for people who are looking to make decisions about their career and their next steps forward. You should try to look for those resources and then find ways to gently suggest them to your teenager. That way, you won’t be the one doing all the work; you’ll instead be nudging them in the direction of resources that’ll ultimately help them to help themselves. That’s good for them because they need to feel a level of independence throughout this process if possible.
Assist Them with Evaluating Opportunities
When they start to get some ideas about the direction they might want to take when it comes to their career, you should be there to help them with the process of evaluating the opportunities that might come their way or interest them. Be sure to assist them in any way you can and offer an objective input while still making it clear that these are their decisions to make and no one else’s. You might have recommendations to make and things like that, but don’t emphasize your opinion too much; simply be there to offer support and guidance.
Offer a Dose of Realism While Remaining Supportive
Being realistic and doing what you can to keep them grounded is sometimes required, depending on the personality of your son or daughter. Of course, you want them to aim high and dream big; there’s nothing wrong with that. But if they fully expect to be the next Jeff Bezos or to become one of the Fastest NFL Players of all time, you might want to help them look at backup options and keep them realistic, while also being as supportive as you can be at the same time. That’s the job of the parent in this situation.
Talk Them Through What to Expect in Interviews
Once your teenager starts applying for positions, they’ll have to learn what it’s like to go through the interview process. Of course, this is quite an intimidating experience for many people to begin with. It’s often difficult to know what you should expect from these situations or what will happen when you’ve done it before. So you can be there to let them know what they should expect and what’s likely to happen for them. Give them some tips and advice on how to succeed during the interview process too.
Encourage Them to Volunteer or Explore Options Through Part-Time Work
Encouraging your teenager to volunteer or helping them to explore part-time work opportunities might be a good idea. This is useful because it can give them a taste of different kinds of work, and that experience can then help them to make more long-term decisions about what they might want to do with their career going forward. A little extra work experience is never a bad thing anyway.
Attend Career Fairs with Them
Another thing you can do with your teenager is attend careers fairs with them. This will help them to get a good idea of what kinds of opportunities are out there that they might want to explore. It can also help them to make first contact with prospective employers, which can be helpful for them as well. Being there to see them through these early experiences also lets them know that they’re being supported through it all.
As you can see, there are many important things you can do to help your teenager take the first steps in their career. It’s not always easy to offer that guidance and to strike the right balance between letting them find their own way and trying to help them, but you’ll get there in the end.