In a recent survey, ten successful men and women were asked what part education had in their success and whether their parents supported them and encouraged them to attend university or college. Not surprisingly, all praised their parents for helping them through their childhood and convincing them of the importance of post-secondary education.
There is a fine balance for parents who are dealing with children going through the rebellious period of the teenage years. Parents must be strong, strict, yet understanding and patient while at the same time trying to convince their children that going to university has to be their own decision or it will be destined for failure.
The communication lines must be open. Playing sports—any sport—with children can be a healthy way of communicating with your children on another level. Introducing children to books or music and helping them work through personal problems can create a closer ties and strengthen a parent’s bond with a child. This is very important because as they get older and are dealing with school, friends, growing up, and eventually relationships with the opposite sex, the communication lines with your children could suffer unless you the parent take into consideration the changes your children going through.
Communication is pivotal. It’s important to talk to your children to show that you’re interested and there to help. Bring discussions about career choices and interests to the kitchen table. Talk to your children about positive work experiences you’ve had. This sends the message that work can be meaningful and enjoyable. Balance is important, too. Let your children see that life is a combination of hard work and enjoyment. Also, you must let them know that you have made mistakes, but they helped you grow. Billionaire Bill Gates stated that he only hires people who have tried and failed; the will to succeed will get stronger if you made it through tough times.
Use time spent in the car to ask your children about their interests and activities. Get involved in an activity that you can do with your children. Make a list of occupations of interest. Each month, select an occupation to explore and discuss with your children. There are a multitude of high tech jobs that have been created in the last 20 years, for example. Find out what university or college degree can prepare your children for a position in high tech. Clip out career articles and put them on the fridge for everyone to see and discuss. This will open the door to post-secondary education discussion.
Explore music, books, websites, movies, TV shows, sports, and other things your children are interested in. Use these as starting points for career-related discussions. As a parent, you play a key role in helping your children succeed. In fact, you are you are your child’s head coach. Keep in mind that your teenage child needs to find an occupation that fits their skills, interests, values, and beliefs right now. As they journey through life, they’ll continue to evaluate and adjust their career plans in response to external factors like a shift in their interests or a change in their life circumstances.
Be observant and generous with your praise. Pay attention to how your teenage son or daughter spends their spare time because it is often a clue to what they are good at. Share what you enjoy about your own job. Talk about how your values, interests, skills, and personality link to your work.
Career planning is a lifelong journey, and the cycle repeats over and over again. Every journey has its unexpected turns. As your teenage child makes occupational choices, things may happen to change their plans. Help your child prepare for the good and the bad along their journey and discuss the importance of having a backup plan.
Brian Tracy, a specialist on the development of human potential and personal effectiveness, says, “If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent, and you will have given your children the greatest of all gifts.”