Should parents help a teen make career choices or leave it up to the teen?

moneymakingmom

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How can a parent help the child/teen find their right life path toward career fulfillment without being seen as pushy or controlling?

Should the teen be allowed to make all their own career decisions, though they lack any real life experience while the parent sides aside and does nothing?

Or should the parent step in and make the decisions for the teen by enrolling them into college?

To me, either choice seems like an extreme option.

Is there a happy middle ground where both parents and teens can be happy with the outcome for choosing the right college/career path?
 

speedy

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I am not a parent yet, but my opinion is to let them choose the career they want in life like what course they want to pursue in college but of course it is along with the parents guidance. Parent must be always at their side to give and advice of what is good or bad. There are teens who just plainly wants to enjoy life based on their skills and interest. There are kids who turned our rebellious because parents are pushing them to do what they don't like. The best thing of what the parent needs to do is " give time to listen to the child and as him/her what really she/he likes or wanted to do" and let them feel that as parents you are ready to support whatever it is and parents also need to make sure that it will them to a good career and they are following a good path.
 

moneymakingmom

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Some very excellent points. And, you touched upon one of my main concerns that the teen might rebel against the parent's good intentions and shy away from even something they would really want to do. For instance, my own daughter loves games and I think she would do really well at designing games. Of course, she would need to go to college for that. I'm worried that she will rebel and go another direction if I try to force her down the path of game development. I am worried she will freeze up and do nothing or go into the wrong career path cause of my interference. Of course, these are just the worries of a mother. I am sure that she will not be rebellious. I believe that I have my daughter's best interest at heart and she will see that. And, if game development or software engineer is not what she wants to do, then I will fully support her choices. I would never think to do any different.

Thank you for your wonderfully relevant comments here and helping shed light on some possible solutions.
 

iebo

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I'm not a parent, but I know it would have been nice if my parents had encouraged me to pursue my passions, instead of just saying get a good job. My aunt lets her kids have as many experiences as they can handle, to let them figure out on their own what they want to do, and I think they are happy as a result. The most important thing is for them to enjoy their lives, otherwise, what's the point?
 

moneymakingmom

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I'm not a parent, but I know it would have been nice if my parents had encouraged me to pursue my passions, instead of just saying get a good job. My aunt lets her kids have as many experiences as they can handle, to let them figure out on their own what they want to do, and I think they are happy as a result. The most important thing is for them to enjoy their lives, otherwise, what's the point?
Parents need to be involved in helping the teen or child. At least, that's how I see things. As you say, letting the children experience as many life events as possible to find their passion is the best way to encourage them.
 

Cecil Estrera

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In my opinion, it should be done with cooperation. You ask your child what he/she likes to be in the future, and you as a parent should guide him/her in what field he/she chooses to be involved with. You can't just command the kid whatever you want for him/her to be. Make them feel that they can decide on their own.
 

Thorium

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Interesting question. I'm a teenager, so I can very well explain this issue from a perspective of a teenager like me.
Here goes.

The answer is actually very subjective. It depends on some factors, like how confused is the teenager..

Ultimately, it has to be the choice of the teenager, BUT, parents should help him find out what is it that's going to be the choice of the teenager. Here are the things that I, as a teenager, would expect my parents to do if I was confused about my career objective.

Find out his interests and passion: What matters most is the interests and passions of the kid. What is it that he has a talent in? Is it writing? Acting? Anchoring? Public speaking? Drawing? Parents should ask questions like that and find out what's the best career for him/her

Next, find relevant courses on the respective interest/passion: If their kid turns out to be interested in drawing, next comes part of digging deeper and choosing the course. For example, he can consider interior designs, architecture, industrial designs, and such. Parents should search on Internet, or ask other people they know and find out the best courses from best universities for the kid. What would be best for him? Getting a degree in Bachelors in Designing? Stuff like that.

Like I said, it's all about the interest of the kid and the choice of the kid! That's the top most priority. Parents SHOULD help and BACK UP their kid. This is because he may not be well aware and exposed to the career options. That's where parents come in. However, if the teenager (like myself) is well-aware of the field and course he wants to go for, he can just go for it without the aid of parents.

Hope this proves to be helpful to any parent with a kid who is confused about the career they should go for.
 

AmazingP

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The parents are their to guide their children as to the career path to take. However, parents must be aware never to impose their own ideas and biases to their children.
 

moneymakingmom

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What matters most is the interests and passions of the kid. What is it that he has a talent in? Is it writing? Acting? Anchoring? Public speaking? Drawing? Parents should ask questions like that and find out what's the best career for him/her
It's a parent's job to be supportive and provide all the information necessary for this big decision. Then again, with it being the parent's money (or loans they will have to repay), they do have significant input into the college choice.
 

MoreSuccess

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Like I said, it's all about the interest of the kid and the choice of the kid! That's the top most priority. Parents SHOULD help and BACK UP their kid. This is because he may not be well aware and exposed to the career options. That's where parents come in. However, if the teenager (like myself) is well-aware of the field and course he wants to go for, he can just go for it without the aid of parents.

Hope this proves to be helpful to any parent with a kid who is confused about the career they should go for.
This is very insightful, thanks Thorium. My son is 13 and while we think a career in engineering suits him well, and he seems to agree, I don't want him to go that direction just because we say so. My wife is so convinced of thiscareer direction that a few times I've reminded him that ultimately he needs to choose something he will be happy and successful in, and focus in an area where his research shows there will be sufficient jobs. I think 13 is too young to feel like you have to make up your mind anyway.

While my own parents backed me up 100%, they seemed to offer little advice when I was choosing a career, I think I would have liked them to provide some more help. Perhaps didn't want to influence me however I think you need a balance, and that statement of "Parents should help and back up their kid" says it all.
 

beingwell

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Being Asian, I feel that teenagers are still kids. And being kids, they need their parents' guidance. We can only guide them as much, though. At the end of the day, it would still be their decision. We can only show them the pros and cons of the course they are considering; what are the demands of work of these courses 3-4 years from now. We can give them ideas but not so much as to push what we want for them to take.
 

JamJam

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I don't want to control the lives of my children. I will let them decide what they want.
I will support them and guide them to achieve their dreams.
 

moneymakingmom

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Being Asian, I feel that teenagers are still kids. And being kids, they need their parents' guidance. We can only guide them as much, though. At the end of the day, it would still be their decision. We can only show them the pros and cons of the course they are considering; what are the demands of work of these courses 3-4 years from now. We can give them ideas but not so much as to push what we want for them to take.
What scares me is that teens really are just kids. Even an 18 year old (who is legally emancipated to leave home and make their own decisions) is just a few short years past their early teens. And, not many teens have actual experience with making BIG decisions. Yet, we expect them to act like adults and have full reasoning capacity of an adult and to make college choices that will affect the rest of their life. Hopefully, parents will take this into account when they are giving free reign to the teen to select a college major. Of course, the teen's interest should be taking into account but if that choice is not good for them, then the parent should act as a guide, as you said, and step in to show them why another choice would be more suitable for the future.
 

Cecil Estrera

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What scares me is that teens really are just kids. Even an 18 year old (who is legally emancipated to leave home and make their own decisions) is just a few short years past their early teens. And, not many teens have actual experience with making BIG decisions. Yet, we expect them to act like adults and have full reasoning capacity of an adult and to make college choices that will affect the rest of their life. Hopefully, parents will take this into account when they are giving free reign to the teen to select a college major. Of course, the teen's interest should be taking into account but if that choice is not good for them, then the parent should act as a guide, as you said, and step in to show them why another choice would be more suitable for the future.
I agree. Some teens are really not taking things seriously, specially when it comes to making decisions. And we, as parents, won't let our kids just be like that. We must really get involved in whatever step they take to make sure they going the right way.
 

moneymakingmom

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I agree. Some teens are really not taking things seriously, specially when it comes to making decisions. And we, as parents, won't let our kids just be like that. We must really get involved in whatever step they take to make sure they going the right way.
Yes! Like I was saying, it's scary to think that an immature person is allowed to make life changing decisions for themselves that will affect their entire lifetime. These college choices will determine whether or not they can earn enough money and live in a nice home or have money to provide for their children. Since when do teens know anything of real life? A teen is likely to pick a whimsical college major like poetry or liberal arts that serves no real purpose. As you say, a parent needs to strongly counsel their teen to use wisdom in college course choices.
 

Cecil Estrera

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Yes! Like I was saying, it's scary to think that an immature person is allowed to make life changing decisions for themselves that will affect their entire lifetime. These college choices will determine whether or not they can earn enough money and live in a nice home or have money to provide for their children. Since when do teens know anything of real life? A teen is likely to pick a whimsical college major like poetry or liberal arts that serves no real purpose. As you say, a parent needs to strongly counsel their teen to use wisdom in college course choices.
Indeed. That is why we are here, to guide and lead them their ways. I wonder what it would be I do someday if my kids won't agree with my advices, or if they choose some not-so-good career... Hmm, think that was frustrating for us parents.
 

lockirawr

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I think it's more important for parents to get involved. If a parent does nothing, it just shows a lack of parenting. They shouldn't pick it for them, but show them the world and show what it has to offer. Eventually, a kid will pick up what he/she wants. They shouldn't restrict them to one thing like being a lawyer or doctor. Those are great jobs, but probably not the best thing for a kid who doesn't want it.
 

JanaK

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In my opinion, it should be done with cooperation. You ask your child what he/she likes to be in the future, and you as a parent should guide him/her in what field he/she chooses to be involved with. You can't just command the kid whatever you want for him/her to be. Make them feel that they can decide on their own.
I totally agree. Let them decide and be there to guide them. Point out things they may not realize come with the decision they are making. And if possible afford them the opportunity to get a taste of what they think they want to do to help them make an informed decision.
 

apple

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Parent should only guide their children. Let them know about the possibilities and what's out here. I know kids who have been forced to choose a certain profession by their parents and it never ends well. If you are concerned about your kids not having enough life experience, have them volunteer or shadow a job. It gives them some experience and looks wonderful on college applications.
 

Joline86

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I truly believe it has to be a happy middle. The parent has to realize that they cannot live their teen's life for them, but at the same time the parent needs to be there to offer guidance and opinions to help the teen learn to make educated and wise decisions. My parents were not really involved at all, but I took control of the situation applied to a vocational school, applied for grants and scholarships and had everything set up for myself when I was a junior in high school. With my own children I will definitely be more involved than my parents were but ultimately it will be their choice what career path they follow.