Teenagers are notoriously tricky to guide. If you tell them something is black, you can bet your last dollar they will argue it is white. When it comes to career advice, teenagers are no different. Most have no clue about what they want to do with the rest of their life, but if you suggest they look at online business programs from reputable educational institutions they will probably roll their eyes and mutter something about that being “boring”.
BE A REALIST
Let us inject a healthy dose of realism at this point. Whilst every parent dreams that his or her child will grow up into a hotshot lawyer or neurosurgeon, the eventual outcome is likely to be less glamorous. Sure, little Brad or Candice might be walking at ten months and playing the piano at three years old, but the chances of them going on to find a cure for cancer or becoming a dot.com billionaire are remote.
It is important to set aside your ambitions as a ‘tiger mom’ and look at your teenager with the cold, hard eyes of a realist. Just because you want your kids to be successful, it does not mean they are cut out for the cutthroat corporate world or life as a successful entrepreneur. Their talents might lie elsewhere. Think carefully about what kind of person your teenager is – and what type of career will make him or her happy.
Children are all unique. Some are creative; others are sporty. By the time your child is well into his teens, it will be apparent where his talents lie. Some kids are good at math or science whereas others are much happier in the art room. Some teens are naturally gregarious, but others are introverts and lack self-confidence. The characteristics that make your teenager an individual offer a unique insight into the type of career that might suit them. Use this inside knowledge to advise them accordingly.
Most schools channel children into specific subject pathways from the early teenage years onwards. This is a useful guiding point for parents, as you will know which subjects your child enjoys and where his talents lie. For example, if your son loves math and science, he may have a natural aptitude for engineering or computer science. Conversely, if he is interested in the economics of earning money to pay for things he wants, guide him towards an online bachelors in business or similar.
THE SOFTLY, SOFTLY APPROACH
It is very important that you don’t try to push your child towards a career they show no interest in. Kids who end up studying for an online business administration degree when in fact they would much prefer to be working with animals will not be happy. They might stick it out for a few years, but eventually they will fall by the wayside and suffer a career crisis.
Offer advice but don’t be pushy. Let your teenager make their own decisions. As a parent, it is your job to guide your teenager in the right direction. This job isn’t always easy, but then neither is being a parent.