How to Support your Teenager’s Career Choices

Supporting their Career Choices (Even if you don’t Understand Them!)

New research has found that over two-thirds of parents of 11 to 18-year-olds feel overwhelmed as their children’s career ambitions are in fields they haven’t got any understanding of. The research, carried out by Talking Futures, collected responses from over 2000 secondary school students’ parents and found that over 75% of parents believe giving career advice to their children was almost impossible with the current pace of the jobs market. Parents have obvious concerns about the future careers of their children and it is important to be supportive and find ways to help them make considered decisions for their future.

We’ve got some advice to help parents feel they are supporting their children’s career choices, even if the specifics aren’t something they truly understand.

1)   Treat your child as the individual they are

You may have had dreams of going to university and studying History or you may be an entrepreneur who built your business without a single qualification. In either instance, this may not be the career plan your child has in mind. It is easy and natural to treat your child as an extension of yourself. However, it is vital you consider their individual hopes and goals, rather than yours. The things you love or hate about work may be the opposite for your child so listen and explore their options without considering your personal preferences.

2)   Support your child in discovering their strengths and passions

Not every person can turn their most beloved interest into a career, and not everybody wants to. Encourage your child to explore their strengths and talents and consider these in the world of work. Your child may have an aptitude for a particular subject that doesn’t align with their current career goals. You can explore the options within their strength, and they may move into an area they can both enjoy and excel at.

3)   Embrace extracurriculars

The more experiences your children are exposed to, the stronger their passions and interests may be. Expose them to nature, the arts, science, museums, animals, travel and any experience that can help them form their passions and develop their strengths. Once you spot interest areas and subjects that excite them, you can dig deeper and see where this leads.

4)   Exercise patience

Being a teen is already hard work without constant anxious conversations with your parents about your future career. Many children are nowhere near decided on where they want their future to lead, and it can take time to find the right path. Being patient and giving them the time they need will be much more appreciated than constant nagging or questions.

5)   Explore multiple avenues

There are some secondary schools and further education institutions which promote university as the only option for children. They may feel they have to find a course to suit their needs and remain in education for a few more years. There are many different options for children once they reach 16, and even more at 18. Apprenticeships are available in a diverse range of subject areas and can help a child find their passion or a career niche that really suits them. Furthermore, apprenticeships equip young people with workplace skills and experience that will be appreciated by future employers.

Rather than worrying when your child tells you they want to be a Twitch streamer or Bitcoin miner, embrace their passion and look at how their skills suit these options. The ever-changing nature of the jobs market should be seen as an exciting and diverse place that allows for more individuality and more opportunities to find your niche.