Contrary to what you believe, there’s no “right time” for the career talk. This is because discovering one’s calling is an ongoing process. Your child may be ready to talk about career options at the age of 12, or may not want to broach the topic until adulthood. This, however, shouldn’t stop you from delving into the subject and offering any assistance they might need. So, here are eight ways to prepare your child for their future.
So, Here are Eight Ways to Prepare your Child for their Future.
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1. Provide a Reality-check
As a parent, it is natural to want to protect your child from the cruel, cruel world. However, it is essential that you talk to them about matters that affect their future. Like the fact that automation is slowly taking over jobs. Eventually, your child is going to step into the real world, and when they do, they shouldn’t be thrown off balance simply because you didn’t prepare them. So, start showing them glimpses of the real world, talk about jobs and what people do at their jobs. Talk about what you did, and be as honest and objective as possible; because, at the end of the day, it is up to your child to decide whether or not something interests them
2. Be Mindful of the Internet
The internet has become a large part of our lives. As such, your child too will begin to look to the internet for the answers they need. Some of the answers they seek may be about career prospects, and as a parent, it is your responsibility to guide your child’s foray into the internet. Teach them to use the internet the right way by exploring social media, news sites, and forums together with them. Make your child understand the difference between reliable and unreliable sources. Children are very impressionable, and they need to be told early on that not everything on the internet is true. Having said that, it is also important that you respect your child’s privacy.
3. Arrange Meet-ups
Another way to steer your child towards talking about careers is by getting them to meet with people from different fields. Discussions with these people, even those overheard will raise your child’s curiosity, and soon they will want to know more. Children tend to soak in more information when they are naturally curious. So, it helps when the questions pop up organically, instead of you sitting your child down and lecturing them about the future.
Preparing your child for a career is an ongoing process. From a very young age, children are aware that they have to ‘do something with their life’. They are often reminded of this at gatherings and family get-togethers where people ask them, ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ While they answer the question to the best of their knowledge then, they keep re-visiting it whenever they gain insight. So, keep your communication channels open. Just because they don’t have to choose a career tomorrow does not mean it’s not the right time to talk about it.
5. Help with Their CVs
When your child starts nearing adulthood, you should take the initiative to sit down with them and help create their resume. Help them see what companies are looking for these days. Show them how to strengthen their resumes with a certain degree or experience. Pencil in things that your child has studied, volunteered for, and achieved. Highlight the skills used for each of these. This will help your child recognise their skills and how they fit in with certain careers.
6. Encourage the Idea of Internships
The best way to prepare your child for a career is by encouraging them to take on internships. Let them devote one vacation to an internship so they can learn about a career while on the job. This not only exposes them to a professional setting but also serves as a look-see into the career of their choice. Nothing will prepare your child for the real world better than this. It might be tough watching your little one leave the nest, but it will be the most rewarding in terms of preparation.
7. Caution Them About Daily Struggles
Many times, as parents, we tend to paint a rosy picture of life for our children. We don’t talk to them about the struggles of working life. Instead, we just tell them to get into a great college, thus giving them the impression that that is all it takes. How true is that? Is getting into a great college the only struggle you faced? If not, what were the others? What happens after they get into a great college? After they get into a great company? While great choices are rewarding, don’t downplay the struggle. Better they are aware of the struggle than being overwhelmed by it.
8. Enlist Help from Professionals
As working individuals, it becomes difficult to be objective about all the opportunities out there. Your aspirations and fears may colour the way you talk about careers, and that could heavily influence your child’s decisions. They may develop biases against certain careers because you were biased towards them. Truth is, it is hard to be objective, and more importantly well-informed about other careers, let alone all. What do you do then? Let a professional intervene. Choosing a career path is crucial, and hence there is no shame in asking for guidance. If you are unsure about how to broach the topic or navigate through the tricky areas, we are right here to help you.
Just remember, preparing your child for a career is a part of healthy parenting. It is at home, by your side, that your child is thinking about all these things. So, make sure that you always have time to talk to, and guide them through it.
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