Thinking about a future career can bring a lot of stress. Figuring out what he is going to do with this ‘future’ is such a vast undertaking that wrapping his brain around it can seem too daunting. Parents need to learn to help their teen conquer this hefty question by dropping seeds of conversation as time goes by and watch them grow into ideas. This chops up the question into workable issues that you and your teen can enjoy dealing with throughout their teen years.
Time Required: Start as early as middle school.
- In your child’s life there are times when they are given the opportunity to see and/or discuss a certain career. Schools have Career Day, an aunt or uncle talk about what they do for a living or your teen’s youth group goes on a trip to a hospital and talks to the staff there. Each of these times is an opportunity for you to ask your teen what he thought of those jobs or that field of work.
- When your teen shows interest in a certain career, you should do some research. Then, you can offer your teen some information on that job and related jobs. The Occupational Outlook Handbook put out by the Department of Labor gives you what schooling is needed, how much someone can make and other information about almost every career out there today. It’s a wonderful free online resource.
- Help your teen weight the pros and cons for his different career interests. Encourage your teen to narrow the choices down to five at the most. He can always change his mind after he sees the specifics for these choices.
- Figure out the path your teen would have to take in order to obtain the schooling for his career choices. This is a good time to begin ordering in college and technical school catalogs. Use the catalogs and any other information you have found as an ice breaker for more conversations with your teen.
- The ultimate decision lies with your teenager, but you do have the right to have input. Make this a clear message. Teach your teen that part of being independent is knowing when and who to lean on, trust and respect.
- Be sure not to push your teen in any specific direction that may be on your agenda. While you may need to push him forward, you want to guide him towards his future, not the one you may be dreaming about.
- Every time you talk to your teen about his future you will need to give him time to digest the conversation. Try not to pick his brain too much while he is doing this. Simply ask if he is ready to talk more about it and abide by his answer.
- Do you feel you have open communication with your teen?
Parenting Quizzes for Parents of Teens