Guiding your child to a career path can be a daunting task. Many children know from an early age what they aspire to do as adults, while others struggle with the decision and seemed pulled in many different directions. The ratio of career guidance teachers is 477:1 in the US and, faced with an increasingly competitive job market and student debt, many students are opting to check out of the career game before they finish high school.
High school dropout rates are staggering with a high school student leaving school every 26 seconds. That's 1.3 million kids who won't graduate high school this year. While there are many factors which contribute to this number, not knowing where they are going is a major reason for dropping out. Without a clear vision of where they are headed, it's hard to motivate teens to stay in school.
Even when they do get to college, 48% of first-year students will quit and about 50% of those who remain will change their majors at least once. What this means is that our teens aren't getting the career guidance they need to make clear decisions about what they want to do with their lives. Parents need to play a role in guiding and researching career paths with their children.
Aptitude and Attitude
Start with some aptitude tests which will show where your child's strengths lie. While not definitive, they do help to guide ideas on what kinds of fields your child should explore.
Foster confidence and a positive attitude. When your children have confidence, they will be open to every career opportunity and have the motivation to achieve the kinds of grades they need to succeed.
Once your teen has expressed interest in a couple of fields, you need to get them in contact with the resources and people who can help them to reach an informed decision. Meeting people in their fields of interest, doing summer internships or getting a part-time job may all help them to choose a career that is right for them.
Making it Happen
Don't let your child's career options be limited because of bad grades. Every child can learn; you just need to find what works. A one-on-one tutor can help your child to catch up to the class and even move ahead. They will also learn those executive skills that are essential to their future success.
As they fill in the missing building blocks in their academic foundation, their confidence will grow and they will be more enthusiastic about their possible career choices.
Your teens are deciding on their life's path at a time when they are least equipped to do so. As parents, you can help guide them and support them through the process so that they make the right choices and have the tools they need.
Download a helpful guide for parents on how to help your teens through the career choice process here.