Parents are always excited about their kids’ milestones. The moment they first took their first step inside school premises, they started to think about college. What course will they choose, what career path they should take, and sometimes they worry if they can still afford to send them to college.
I am no exception. The moment my eldest son started his preparatory schooling, we are already choosing a career path for him based on what we see in him. The things that he enjoyed doing, his level of intellect, the kind of toys he always wanted to buy, and the list goes on and on.
One year before he went to college, we are already arguing about the course he should take. He actually didn’t know and didn’t want to pursue college. But why?
Social Media Influencers
My son ranked top 5 in his class. I don’t quite push him for I wanted him to learn on his own and enjoy school without feeling pressured. Even though I got something in my mind that I think is the best career that would fit him, I still wanted him to discover that himself based on his abilities and things that he enjoyed doing. But to tell me he doesn’t [pwant to go to college; I think it’s time for me to step in. These are not the words I am expecting and wanting to hear. So, I asked him why. If he could give me a rational answer, I might allow him.
“Social media allows teenagers to communicate with all of their friends at the touch of a button, and this ability takes bullying to a new level.” –Dr. Jeff Nalin
“The rise and growing significance of social media has caused an influx of mental health concerns, such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety. Now is the time to start paying attention to how social media is influencing your life choices and mental health.” Brie Shelly, MS, LMHC, RYT said. Social media always features many successful people who didn’t even go to college or college dropouts. This feeds him the idea that getting into college is not a determinant factor in a person’s success. And so, he thinks he should, too. Another reason he gave me is how only a small percentage of those who finished college were able to apply what they have learned in the job they ended up with.
Well, he has a point there. But not everyone can be a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg and all other successful billionaires who bragged how they managed to become who they are despite not getting their college diploma.
We Should Be Our Kids’ Influencers
This won’t work. I need to think of ways on how to divert my son’s attention and encourage him to get into college and find his career path, not following what others did.
Our kids don’t yet have the experience or idea of how life is in the real world. More often than not, they need our guidance to help them navigate this critical part of their lives, that may decide their future. A career path that would not just fit their level of intellect, or hobbies, but a career which they will not regret taking.
How Can You Help Your Child Choose?
- He maybe is your child, but he is not you. Lucky for you if your son enjoys the same thing that you do. But if he’s not, don’t push him to. Don’t feed him the idea that it is the safest career for him for you’ll be there to guide him. Guide him whatever career path he chose. Don’t bribe him that he will make more money when he picks the same career as yours or go to the same school. Kids nowadays are not always after a job that will give them more money, but a career where they still feel free despite having a career. Because they enjoy what they are doing.
- Let your kid see a career counselor. Encourage him to take various aptitude tests. This will allow him to see the pattern, either of his interest or strength. He can capitalize on his strength even if his interest scores low. “Through simple and direct counsel and coaching you may discover great potentials that can move your job and career to a positive place you never thought possible.” Chris Oneth LMFT said.
Math was my son’s academic strength, but not that good in analytics. He pursued a career in accountancy because of his love for numbers. He struggled when it comes to data analyzing, but then was able to survive his college focusing on his strength.
- Be your child’s first role model. As parents, we are the first person our kids learn to look up to, their greatest life influencers. We are often their first heroes. They observe and copy (most of the time) our every move. Seeing your daughter wear your high heels and touch your makeup and walk around the room, isn’t just play. She starts thinking of how is it to be you. So, when your child sees you enjoying your career, and maintaining the right balance between your family and career, they’ll be encouraged to go down that same path. So, it’s my simple way of saying, time to declutter your life so you may be able to do the things you love and be happy, instead of feeling stressed raising a family and having a career.
- Find your son a mentor or a role model (besides yourself) that will have a positive effect on his studies, not just any successful social media personalities. I’m not trying to say that they don’t have a positive impact on kids, but the incompleteness of the facts of life, make our kids think that life is that easy. These people struggled, too. They didn’t just become successful one day as if success comes down from heaven.
- Step out of your comfort zone and surround yourself with peers that inspires you. This will encourage your child to get out of his comfort zone also, get involved, and be with people that will motivate him. Being surrounded by amazing people, dramatically affects how a person thinks, dreams, and see himself brings out his full potential.
- Let your child explore the many possibilities. It would be nice to expose him to various things while he is young – arts, science, travel, people (is very important), museums, animals, and many others in which he may be able to mirror himself doing one day. These are things which you both can enjoy. Encourage and explore their curiosity. The deeper their understanding about certain things, the more they become open to the idea of whether to take or not such path.
It’s a long and tiring journey to raise a kid, and a tough quest to let him choose a career. Take this opportunity to explore and discover things with him. You may have so much of life experiences, but you may still be surprised that there is still this part of you, you’ve never gotten the chance to explore.
Your son may have reached a decision, and it may change along the way. It’s okay. When he is caught up in the road of confusion, be his light and encourager. Patience can be contagious, and the weapon every parent should keep to bring out the amazing person hiding in every child.