One of the hardest things about being the parents of teens is knowing that they will soon be all grown up and looking to head off to college or the world of work for the first time.
You want your child to mature and grow, but you also worry for them. They are so young, but they must also start to make big decisions about their future, such as which course they will study at college or what kind of training they will enroll in.
As a parent, all you can do is be there to support them as they try to work out what they want to do in terms of a career, and below you will find some effective ways to do just that:
Talk to them about their strengths
Before they head off to college or start thinking about what they should choose MBA specialization options, or anything like that, it is really important that they take the time to think about what they are good at.
It is not always the case that people will want to follow a career path that plays to their main strengths because they might have other dreams and ambitions, but it is also fair to say that individuals are more likely to be successful and fulfilled in a career for which they have an aptitude.
As a parent, then, it is never a bad idea to get your teens thinking about what they are good at and how they can use their natural skills and talents to make a living. Explore all the options and let them see how they feel.
Encourage them to take part-time jobs
Encouraging your teens to take part-time jobs is a great way to get them used to the world of work and start to think more about the kinds of roles they would and would not like to do. Even a simple customer service job will give them insight into what it is like to work with the public or whether they have a head for figures and so on, so any part-time job is invaluable, and the sooner your teen starts working, the easier it will be for them to work out what they might want to do in the future.
Buy them biographies
You want your child to be able to do anything they put their mind to and achieve total fulfillment in their working life, but if they do not know all of the available opportunities out there it is going to be a bit more difficult for them to do so.
One thing that you can do to help with this is to buy them lots of biographies about lots of successful people in a wide range of fields. This will expose them not only to what it takes to become successful but also to a vast array of career paths that they might not have even known about or experienced before.
Have them volunteer
Another thing you can do to get your teen more familiar with a wide range of jobs and skills is to have them volunteer at various charities and businesses. It is hard to choose a career path when you do not know what the realities of working as a vet or a computer programmer or whatever may be, but by volunteering in businesses and organizations, you can ensure that your teen gets a more realistic view of what any given job is likely to be like, so they can make the best-informed decision they possibly can at their young age.
Have them take a career aptitude test
Some people think that career aptitude tests are very good and work very well at throwing out options that are most likely to suit an individual, and others think they are less than useful. However, you have nothing to lose by getting your kid to complete one and at the very least, it may throw up a few suggestions for career paths that they might not have considered before, or point them in the direction of a certain field that could play to their skills.
Visit career fairs
If your child really is not sure what they want to do, then taking them to as many career fairs and college tasters as you can manage is a really good way to show them their options and get them thinking about what they could do. It is also a good way for you to learn more about what options may be available to them so that you can better support them in finding and pursuing a career path that they will find fulfillment from. Even, us parents do not always have all the information about what it is possible to do in the world of work, so educating ourselves is always just as important as educating our kids.
Attend talks and lecture
Attending talks and lectures by successful and passionate people who have found their niche in the world is another good way of opening up the world of work to your teens. Most towns hold regular lectures and speaking events where you can hear more about what it is like to be a zoologist, a travel photographer, or a doctor, and for kids who aren’t quite sure what they want to do, they can be very useful in coming to a decision.
Let them decide
Finally, it is worth noting that, you should support your children in deciding their own career paths, but you should not try to force them into a mold they do not want to be in. It is their life and they need to choose a career path that brings them fulfillment at the end of the day – it’s not about you.
Choosing the correct career path, especially when you are still in your teens, is no easy thing for your child to do, but with your support and guidance, they stand the best chance of getting it right, and if not, well noting in life is set in stone!