Your Kids Career - Whose Choice?

A strange thing happened to me today. Or more precisely, a strange thought occurred. You see, my eldest son helped me install a new kitchen. He was the expert handyman. Me? Well, I was the 'gofor'. "Dad, could you go for this?" "Dad, will you go for that . . ."

And you know, it took me back to my childhood. I used to stand by MY dad's side, helping him mend this and build that. What a pride I took in those days, holding a plank of wood at one end while he measured it, or going into his toolbox to fetch a bigger screwdriver. The master and the apprentice!

Yet despite all my admiration, I never quite mastered the secrets of DIY. In my own house, I muddle through jobs as best I can, or just leave them undone. Occasionally I'll send for a tradesman.

Yet somehow I raised a son who, like his Grandad, can turn his hand to anything - while I STILL stand and watch!

This particular creative talent managed to skip a generation, only to re-emerge with a flourish in my boy.

There lies the crux of this article.

We each discover our own talents, leanings, and strong points. As a teacher I hear so many kids complain about their parents, who - with the best will in the world! - force their kids into curriculum choices or career paths which say more about the parents and their aspirations.

Why do so many of us insist on directing, or even dictating, career choices for our kids?

Many possible reasons spring to mind:

  • perhaps we compensate for our own lack of achievement
  • or we want to bask in the reflected glory
  • we fear that if we don't push them, their talents will remain unused or under-developed
  • maybe we think we'll lose face with our neighbours, friends or family if our child doesn't enter a high profile or glamorous 'profession'
  • or maybe we just feel that as parents we know best

Talk about a recipe for disaster!

Trying to live our own lives through our kids tends to fill them with resentment. Go along this path and we'll soon encounter a breakdown in relationships, and our kids will seethe with unhappiness and a lack of fulfilment.

Sometimes our children may even go along with our wishes because they want to please. They feel grateful for all we've done and don't want to disappoint us. The outcome here can be even more insidious: if a child or young person lacks one hundred per cent commitment to the path we choose for them, it can manifest itself in low achievement, depression and even physical illness.

What a waste of everyone's time, energy, talents and resources!

On the other hand, we do want to guide them, don't we? We instinctively know we should give them the benefit of our experience.

So how do we go about it?

The key lies in ENCOURAGEMENT.

From the earliest possible age, encourage your child to be confident, positive, and optimistic.

And observe them in all they do. Cherish their uniqueness, and enjoy seeing their individual talents unfold.

Avoid forcing any issues; concentrate on encouraging growth and development, even if - especially if! - their talents take them along a road unfamiliar to you. Often, what a parent least expects develops into a major plus in their child.

Strive for open and unbiased expectations. If ballet dancing interests your child, encourage him or her to research that activity, try it out, and make a confident, realistic appraisal - don't try to force them into medicine or the law instead!

In high school some teachers encourage kids to make their curriculum choices to suit future career aspirations. But this stresses many unsure kids. My advice has borne fruit over the years: "Choose what you're best at and what you enjoy most. The rest will take care of itself!" And it does.

Again, encourage confidence and optimism. Because today and in the future, most of our kids will not enjoy the luxury previous generations enjoyed - a job for life. Our kids need adaptability in order to face change willingly and without fear.

By encouraging them to follow their hearts, we can do much to help them. Happy parenting!

Why do some parents and children succeed, while others fail?
Frank McGinty is an internationally published author and teacher. His writing includes motivational books for both parents and teenagers. If you want to develop your parenting skills and encourage your kids to be all they can be, visit his web pages,
http://www.frank-mcginty.com/peace-formula.ht ml AND http://www.frank-mcginty.com/for-parents.html

In The News:


Three Tips to Get Children with Sleeping Problems Asleep

According to the American Sleep Association 70% of all babies... Read More

Refresher Course on Diapering for Dads

It's among the top criticism wives have of their husbands:... Read More

Financially Stable Kids ? Prepared for College

We are all familiar with the stories that most students... Read More

Invented Spelling --- Another Alice-in-Wonderland Public-School Theory

As part of the whole-language (or "balanced") reading-instruction philosophy, many... Read More

True Romance for Couples with Kids: 10 Inexpensive Ideas

Anyone can splurge on a formal dinner or a pricey... Read More

Parenting - Give Your Child The Tools To Build Strong Character And Values

There are many parenting styles. Yours may be very different... Read More

What Is Homeschooling And How Do I know If Its Right For My Family?

Do you know what these famous people have in common?Alexander... Read More

Personal Responsibility: What It Means and Whose Job is It?

"How many times do I have to tell you to... Read More

Couch Potatoes Beware!

It's no surprise that the self-image and self-esteem of overweight... Read More

Is Your Teen Swamped with Homework and Tests?

I hear from many parents that their child is stressed... Read More

Teaching Problem Solving Skills to Children with ADHD

Even though the "Stop and Think" movement in ADHD treatment... Read More

Parent Involvement: Finding Your Way in Middle School and High School

In elementary school it's pretty straightforward: bringing in cupcakes to... Read More

Twin and Multiple Births are on the Rise

Did you know that the number of twin births have... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: How to Respond to Manipulation

Q. My daughter has gotten very good at manipulating us,... Read More

Teaching Kids the Value of Money

My husband and I have a 12-year-old daughter who wanted... Read More

Potty Training ?To Train or Not to Train?

I have always found the notion of toilet training a... Read More

Mom vs. Dad: Navigating Parenting Differences With All Good Intentions

Let's face it: raising children can be quite the adventure.... Read More

Learning Responsibility is a Lifelong Process

Learning responsibility is an ever widening and lifelong process.As thinking,... Read More

Life Stuck In Fast Forward

the woes of being a parent of an ADHD child.....Like... Read More

5 Tips for Improving Communication With Your Teenager

Parents are always looking for ways to open up the... Read More

Why Scrapbooking Moms are the Secret Weapon in the War on Terror

There is a front line and a back end to... Read More

Parenting Univeristy: Potty Training 101

When your child shows signs of potty training readiness, it's... Read More

Educational Jigsaw Puzzles, How Educational Are They?

Many companies advertise their products as being educational. How much... Read More

Teaching Children Good Manners

Last week in my newsletter, I mentioned that... Read More

Teach Children The Skills Of Optimism

Optimists do better academically, socially and enjoy better health than... Read More