What are the causes of disagreement between a child and the parents when choosing a career path?

It’s the nature of parents to want the best for their children. They want to give the best clothes, the most nutritional food and what is the most important is the best education for their children. However, it is a little bit more complicated when it comes to decide what is best for their children’s education. It is very difficult to decide for the children’s education path especially when they are entering college or university, because at this age most children have not discovered their true identity and interest yet. A lot of students nowadays do not have any satisfactory answer when they were asked why they chose a particular course or subject in university. Most of them will probably answer because it is what their parents tell them to learn and this situation is really a concern that people need to put their thought into. University students should know why they want to take a particular course in order for them to have a clear life goal and ardour to achieve it. They should not hide behind their parents shadow and just blindly follow what their parents think they should do. It is vital for parents not to make final decision for their children’s field of studies due to the generation gap, dissimilar passion and also higher probability of inaccurate judgement.

First of all, parents cannot make a decision for their children’s major in higher institution because of the generation gap between them. In our modern era, it can easily be observed that our younger generation is more advance in term of science and technology compared to the older generation. On account of these new science and technology discoveries, a lot of new majors in higher institution have been added which also correspond to the number of new job opportuni...

... middle of paper ... ...naccurate judgement. Works Cited Alhanati, J. (2012, 7 20). Follow Your Passions And Success Will Follow. Retrieved 3 9, 2014, from Investopedia.com: http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/12/passion-success.asp D'Arcy, J. (2012, 12 1). Choosing a major in college: Do parents get a say? . Washington Post . Huppke, R. (2012, 9 11). Choosing a college major: Parents have a balancing role. Retrieved 3 8, 2014, from Huppke, R. (2012, 9 11). Choosing a college major: Parents have a balancing role. Retrieved 3 7, 2014, from Thcsmonitor.com: Huppke, R. (2012, 9 11). Choosing a college major: Parents have a balancing role. Retrieved 3 7, 2014, from T http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/Family/Modern-Parenthood/2012/0911/Choosing-a-college-major-Parents-have-a-bala

Rubin, B. M. (2012, 8 6). Parents taking an active role in choosing colleges. Chicago Tribune .

Tiana Salisbury, Photojournalist

Choosing a career is a critical and crucial decision for many people. They struggle to determine whether the choice they make is going to hurt or help their future. Additionally, parents tend to intervene with the decision process and do whatever it takes for their child to take the “ideal” career path. With both the parent and the child trying to choose one future, who should be the one to make the final decision?

If parents choose their child’s career, they will be more supportive of their child’s future. Many parents who have failed their past career goals set them on their children, and seem to relive their aspirations in their child. The parent then does as much as they can to make sure that their child lives the life they wish they could live by overspending on opportunities to ensure success with that career. 

Adding on, parents have more experience in the world than their child, and therefore have a better understanding of the right and wrong decisions for career paths. In a parent’s perspective, a child could possibly end up making a bad decision for their future. The parent could act as a guide to make sure that their child makes good life decisions and doesn’t set unrealistic goals for themselves.

However, although parents seem to know everything that will lead to a successful future, the opposite may be true. Children know themselves better than anyone else, including their parents. By choosing their own career paths, children are setting themselves up for a future that they are interested in. Instead of living a monotonous life, they will be enjoying whatever career they choose based on their interests.

Furthermore, children have the right to choose what they want to achieve in the future. Every child has their dream career, and it is up to them if they want to follow their career dreams or not. Piper Guyton (9) agrees with this and says, “Children should choose what they do in the future because it is their life and not the parent’s.” In many cases, children do not want to follow the goals their parents set for them, and if they do, they fail to meet their parents’ expectations.

There are both positive and negative reasons for having a child or their parents choose the child’s career path. However, it is truly up to the child to decide because it is their future and their life. Even if a child’s parents do not support the career choice at first, they will eventually learn to accept it and support the child, because that is what family is for!

Parents serve as a major influence in their children’s career development and career decision- making. Parents want their children to find happiness and success in life and one factor which influences happiness and success is career choice. Research also indicates that when students feel supported and loved by their parents, they have more confidence in their own ability to research careers and to choose a career that would be interesting and exciting. This is important because studies show that adolescents who feel competent regarding career decision-making, tend to make more satisfying career choices later in life. (Keller 2004).

Parents influence the level of education or training that their children achieve; the knowledge they have about work and different occupations; the beliefs and attitudes they have to working; and the motivation they have to succeed. Most of this is learned unconsciously – children and teenagers absorb their parents attitudes and expectations of them as they grow up.

Some of the key influencers are:

  • The expectations parents have for their children's education and career.
  • The example they set for their children.
  • The values they show to their family, friends and to society.
  • The opportunities they offer their children to learn and develop.
  • The kind of parent-child relationship they develop. http://www.careerkey.org/choose-a-career/parents-effect.html

Tips to help your child’s career development:

  • Encourage your children to get as much education as possible.
  • Help them to discover their innate talents and skills.
  • Develop their knowledge of the world of work.
  • Teach them decision- making skills.
  • Value gender equity and cultural diversity.
  • Become aware of career resources/ education and training opportunities.
  • Observe the effects of work experience. http://www.careerkey.org/choose-a-career/parents-effect.html

Middleton and Loughead (1993) talk of how parents can be an important and positive influence in decisions affecting a young person's vocational development. Though they also warn that over-involvement in the decision- making process can undermine parental effects as a positive source of influence. Excessive parental control regarding adolescents' occupational decision-making results in negative outcomes. Nucci (1996). Parents should be cautioned against imposing their own goals on to their children or seeing their child’s accomplishments as a reflection on themselves. So while parents should show genuine interest and support for their adolescents‘ career plans, they must allow adolescents to discover who they are on their own. Some teenagers fear the disapproval of their parents if they pursue a career in art/drama/music as opposed to a practical high-earning occupation such as law or medicine. If parents make it clear that they have no specific expectations for their child’s career, he/she will feel free to explore a greater variety of professions, choosing one based on their own preferences rather than those of their parents.

Choosing a career is an extremely important decision that impacts an individual‘s entire future, so parents can become very stressed. It is important to stay positive otherwise it can become a stressful time for all involved. Parents unwittingly can make the past seem perfect and the future terrifying.

In a study by Bregman and Killen (1999) it was documented that adolescents valued parental influence and guidance in the area of career choice and vocational development.. It is important for parents to give students support and encouragement to explore the many options available to find the best career fit. It is best to start the discussion as early as possible, don't wait until students are looking at CAO forms in sixth year.   Much of the formative discussion should have happened well before this stage.  If the process is started early, there is less likelihood of making unwise decisions.

Parents should guard against shooting down ideas their children may have about their future careers. If they react negatively, it may shut down the whole exploration process. Parents need to keep the lines of communication open, and encourage their child to gather as much information as possible on their career interest areas. A parent must recognize that their role is simply to act as a facilitator in their child’s career journey and allowing independent career choices marks a young persons first real step into adulthood.

Look out for the danger signs in your child's approach:

  • Waiting until the last minute to make decisions.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Promises to work miracles with study next term.
  • Carrying too many higher -level subjects in spite of poor reports from teachers.
  • Lax approach to homework.
  • Interference from social activities or a weekend job which is funding their social life.
  • Selecting a course because the career is well paid. They are more likely to gain a good result in their degree if they enjoy and are interested in the course.

Things a parent can do to help:

  • Read up on the relevant courses on the Qualifax website.  From an adult perspective you may have some questions that your child has overlooked.  Click here for CAO courses...  Click here for PLC courses...
  • Make sure your son/daughter goes to some Open Days.  These are essential for students trying to come to terms with the vast array of colleges and courses. However an Open Day will be not be helpful if there has been no preparatory work beforehand. Click here to see how to prepare for a College Open Day...   Click here to view Career Events...
  • If possible introduce your son/daughter to someone currently doing the course/working in the career area.
  • Look at the list of proposed courses and find out if your son/daughter has researched each course thoroughly. Any course that has not been thoroughly researched should not be on the list.
  • Have the CAO choices been discussed with a Guidance Counsellor?
  • What is the backup plan if the predicted results do not happen?
  • If the school organises career talks for parents, make sure you are in attendance.
  • Be aware of the risks of failing a crucial higher- level paper such as English or Maths. An E on a higher -level paper will not be accepted whereas a D on a lower level paper may be acceptable.  Click here to check Minimum Subjects...
  • Attend Parent/Teacher meetings.
  • Remember parental advice is invaluable, but school leavers must make their own particular career choices.

A few simple rules:

 Be involved, but not in control

 Advise, but do not decide

Support, but do not dominate.


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