There is a fine line between helping your children make the right career decision and making the decision for them. As Indian parents, we often tend to do the latter. When I interact with a child and parent during a career counselling session, parents sometimes tend to be more participative in the conversation and overpower the child’s opinion. They answer for the child, chime in to responses and try to steer the conversation towards a preconceived direction. I was recently speaking to the parent of a child who had very high scores in Science and an aptitude for a field like Engineering and Medicine, but he showed greater interest towards the Humanities. He wanted to be an Economist. This was a little unsettling for his father, who kept pushing for an ‘Engineering’ degree first as a ‘back up’ and something in Economics later on.
Here’s how you as parents can help your child make the right career decision. If you are passionate about what you do, you will succeed. And you cannot be passionate about something someone else wants you to do. In today’s overwhelming world, almost half the parents are unaware of the range of career opportunities and options that are available to their children. Most jobs today value non-cognitive or ‘soft skills’ such as behaviour, attitude, inclinations, motivation almost as much as they value ‘aptitude’ and the ability to do the job well. This has changed the world of careers dramatically from the way it was a few decades ago.
Understanding the wide-ranging world of new careers
A good starting point is to learn about the careers that interest your child and understand more about the skills that are required for a certain kind of job role. For example, an Economist is someone who is research orientated but should be a good communicator to be able to break down and explain complex facts to others. You should support your child in discovering where their non-academic strengths lie. Career profiling and assessments are a good way to gauge your child’s latent strengths and interests impartially and have deeper conversations for subject selection, colleges, courses and careers.
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