“With the plethora of options available these days, finding the best career option for your child could be a formidable task,” says Prateek Bhargava, Founder & CEO of Mindler. “Naturally, in our society, parents play an integral part in the entire process, right from subject to college selection. While they do this with their best intentions, at times their decisions tend to be driven by their emotions missing out on numerous practical aspects such as the child’s aptitude, interest, or ability to pursue such a career choice,” he adds.
“In most cases”, according to Mr Bhargava, “the mainstream careers such as Engineering, Medical, or Civil Services are considered “safe” choices and often take precedence over the non-conventional ones such as Design, Applied Arts, or Nutrition and Fitness, and this may not necessarily yield desired results in the longer run of life”.
There, Mr Bhargava wants parents to consider all aspects holistically to make a smart, informed decision and prepare our children in a manner that they are able to evaluate the pros and cons of their own decisions before making them.
To parents, here are some tips suggested by Mr Bhargava that can help your children make their own career decision judiciously:
1. Give an early start to their exploration
We see many kids today who seem ready to conquer the world. Other than going to school, they juggle between swimming class and piano lessons while helping out their parents with household chores. The purpose of doing so is to get them a sense of different activities. It not only helps them become creative, but also allows them explore their interest and skills in different areas so as to further build on those in the long run.
Always try and give your kids an early start to learning new things, so that they have more time to understand their own talents and hone them. It can start as early as when they are 7 years old, depending upon their temperament and willingness on your part to give them exposure.
2. Encourage them to be decisive and independent
It is important to teach decision-making skills to your child early on so they can become independent. As part of this, it is very important by identifying opportunities and giving them ownership of these tasks. This could include making their own bed, arranging their study table, putting the alarm themselves, or cleaning the spilled over milk. Micromanagement doesn’t help though – it takes time to get used to a new habit, so give your child some space to adapt and inculcate. Don’t forget to praise them for something they do right for the first time – this helps make great headway. At the same time, it is crucial that you consider the circumstances while allocating responsibilities to your child.
3. Refrain from considering your child as an extension of you
Every child is unique. They have personality traits and interests that are different than those of you or your friend’s child. Resist the urge to tell your child to avoid a certain career choice just because it doesn’t interest you or if it is something unconventional and novel.
For instance, if you see them spending more time on creating an Art and Craft project rather than on their study assignments, don’t try to force them towards the latter even though at that instance it makes more sense to you. Respect their decisions to pursue or not pursue an activity, and be realistic about their capabilities.
4. Choose the right school
School plays a very crucial role in your child’s development and future. You need not necessarily look for the most expensive school in your vicinity, instead adopt a more comprehensive approach while selecting the right school. Apart from considering academics and fee structure, visit the website and the school premises to find out about subjects taught, summer activities, class size and mix, interact with the teachers and speak with current students to see how they are evolving as a person.
5. Be open to changing your mindset
A lot of times we as parents are resistant to our kids trying our new options, or be over-involved with non-traditional options, and want them to primarily focusing on scoring good marks in our core subjects at school. While the latter is very important and is a key metric to assess your sincerity, that is not all! While discovering their way in this world, one of the most important things that children need is the support of their parents, and this is your time to step up and provide them all the space to explore and nurture. The path to success is comprised of self-discovery and experimentation so let’s not attempt to eliminate this stage altogether. Be patient with your child during key decisions, and encourage them to keep learning more about themselves so they can keep growing into the amazing person they are meant to be.
6. Help your children discover their strengths and weaknesses; work on the weak areas
One of the most important things in discovering the right career path is finding and analyzing our strengths and weaknesses. No, two individuals are alike. Each one of us has traits that differ from the other. One of the ways to assess these traits is to take psychometric tests and undergo counselling process. This helps in understanding your child holistically – his personality, interpersonal skills, IQ, and EQ.
Once you identify the strengths, provide more avenues to your child to capitalize and grow further in those areas. As for the weaknesses, evaluate why they exist in the first place. If the child is showing aggressive tendencies, is this because he is getting such an environment at home, school, or is going through a bad phase with friends. Accordingly, take measures to address them in a friendly manner with the child.
7. Setting a good example
Most children consider parents as their role models. They develop their perspective and opinions based on what they observe at their home. Children observe their parents very intently – how they work, the way they talk, follow a routine, maintain discipline, take care of their health and many more, and grasp these traits very quickly to enact in their own behavior. It is important, therefore, to provide children with a healthy and happy environment driven by your own actions.
8. Equip them with life skills and values
More than choosing a career and job, it is essential that you equip your child with the right set of life skills and values needed to become responsible citizens. These do not only help in their personal development, but also help them sustain jobs and pick the right kind of relationships.
What kind of skills you ask? These be range from good communication, picking up new languages to honesty, not being judgmental, taking responsibility for own actions, and even participating in community work.
9. Don’t panic when your child makes a mistake
Failures are part of our life and as important as successes. As elders, we face various obstacles in our day-to-day lives and it’s important to prepare yourself from early on to battle these challenges with the right spirit and attitude. A key takeaway from here is that one should always analyze and introspect what went wrong instead of dwelling upon and complaining about the past course of events. Parents need to be supportive and allow their children to take risks and make mistakes – after all, this is a critical part of the learning process. The best way to know yourself and learn is by experimenting and taking risks – most successful people also followed the same path, and it is okay if your child stumbles a few times while discovering their true love. Eventually, they will do great and be okay!