It’s coming up to the time of year when many teenagers have to choose their GCSEs. This is a big milestone in their life and can shape their future career.
This decision may be simple for some teenagers, but for others it may be far more difficult.
As a mother of two grown up children, I know how vital it is for young people to have aspirations and become more aware of the opportunities available in the Big Wide World.
And these days, it is tougher for young people to get started on the right path to their dream career.
Young people now have to stay in education until they are 18 years old. But this doesn’t have to mean they stay in school, they can either go to Further Education College or take an apprenticeship, which is a great way of taking that first step into the world of work.
While your children are not working, as parents we support them financially. As a lone parent, I encouraged my children to get a part-time job whilst still at school.
They learned how to manage their own money and they also got experience of working, learning new skills and developing knowledge.
Did You Know What Career You Wanted to Pursue?
When I was a teenager, I considered a number of different career options but sometimes these were influenced by my parents as they had their own expectations.
As we move our children towards the adult world, it is important we encourage them to start making their own decisions.
At such a young age, kids don’t know what’s out there; they only know what their parents do. There is such a wide choice and variety of different jobs out there.
As your children try different things they will get to work out their likes and dislikes, which will help them, make choices and look out for how to help your child choose a career that is right and fulfilling.
My daughter identified her career choice when she was in year 9, which made it easier to choose the right subjects for her GCSEs. She wanted to be a nurse and achieved this.
My son couldn’t identify a choice of career and lacked the drive and motivation with his studies.
After finishing sixth form, he announced he was going to university to be a solicitor. He found out quite early on that it wasn’t for him because he never followed his passion at school, which was science.
He has often said he should have studied forensic science as it was something he was interested in. The lesson is that it’s so much easier to learn or work with something that you have a passion for.
What Are The Benefits of Having A Clear Focus?
Having a clear focus can give children vision, drive, enthusiasm and motivation. Knowing what they want and what they need towards achieving their goal will give them that sense of achievement.
Having a sense of achievement will give them a purpose and passion in whatever they do.
As my son didn’t have a clear focus there was no purpose to do his coursework as a result; he lacked enthusiasm.
If only he had considered his career options much earlier but unfortunately he didn’t. And Careers Advice wasn’t provided until he was in his final year.
What To Do When Your Child is Struggling to Find Focus
Finding their passion is important in identifying their future career. My passion for helping young people with their careers has come from seeing my son choose the wrong career.
It took many years to find something he was passionate about.
How to Help Your Child Choose a Career as a Parent?
To enable your children to get a good start on their career journey
- Talk to them.
- Find out their thoughts on what they would like to do as a career.
- Find out what their goals and aspirations are.
It is important that they see that they need to do well in their studies at school, as getting a job is competitive.
They also need to understand to get what you want in life you have to be motivated and persevere when it gets tough.
There are always challenges to getting where we want to be. It is far easier to give up and not even try.
As an adult, you know when you are doing something you are passionate about because it motivates you and this motivation drives you through the difficult times.
Find out what motivates your child and what will keep them on track.
Here are 5 tips to help :
- Identify the subjects at school your child is passionate about.
- What hobbies and interests do they have that could relate to a career?
- Encourage your children to try new things, as this takes them out of their comfort zone and helps to build confidence.
- Learning something new or achieving something will also build confidence – And, don’t forget to give them praise.
- Help them to identify the different types of jobs out there and help them find jobs which link to their passion or interest.
- Help them to believe in themselves by showing them you believe in them and what they can achieve.
Still Struggling? Here are 2 Simple Steps to Try
It is always difficult at such a young age to know what is out there.
So, I am going to share an exercise with you from my book ‘Your Choice, Your Future’ to help them explore career opportunities.
You can help your children with this project. It will generate discussion as they work through it with you.
So, here are the simple steps you can take with your child:
Step 1: Draw a picture of your community and its businesses or companies. For example, when we think of a hospital we think of doctors and nurses at first but there are many more different occupations linked to a hospital.
Step 2: Now consider business-related occupations by researching what a company makes, sells or services offered.
By doing this mini project it will help to broaden your child’s horizons. I hope this helps you to support your son or daughter in making a decision towards the right career path.
Imagine that proud moment, when they have achieved good grades in their exams and moved on to the next exciting step on their journey towards their career.
As a parent, you will share in that pride, knowing they have achieved what they wanted.
If you want to invest in your teenager’s future career you can check out my book ‘Your Choice, Your Future’. It is a coaching workbook which provides a number of questions to help your children explore and become more self-aware on their journey of personal development to finding their passion and career path. You can find more information here.
Over to You
Are you currently struggling to help your child achieve? Or maybe your child has already chosen what they want to do? Share with us here, we’d love to hear from you!
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Sandra’s particular expertise is in facilitating professional women to have job satisfaction, feel happier and motivated in their work. She took control of her career and became a trainer, coach and mentor, setting up her own business: Butterfly Transformation Ltd.
Sandra has recently published a book Your Choice, Your Future to help young people on their journey to identifying their career path.
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