Role of Parents in Career Guidance

Parents play a very important role in shaping the career and future of their children. The decision making process in career exploration and career selection is highly influenced by the parents, then by teachers, counselors and friends, writes AMEEN-E-MUDASSAR, in the following article addressing parents’ concerns with regard to their children’s careers



Why are parents important for career guidance?

1. Sometimes parents by their own experience play a major role. Parents can encourage children to choose a career or subjects that they have understood over their life and know the prospects in depth. Parents by their exposure and expertise will be able to assert their wards for better career.

2. In many parts of the world, 40% of students choose their University on the look of the course guide, rather than information, and many students are influenced by hearsay, rather than research. In this situation, parents must encourage them to think about the future and the decisions that they need to make, both in the short and long term, about their career’s direction.

How parents can be involved in Career Selection?

Your attitude matters a great deal! Stay positive! The work place today is everchanging and may seem scary to your children. Don’t make the past seem perfect and the future terrifying. Knowledge is power. So, encourage your children to get as much information and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

Don’t say No! Don’t shoot down ideas your children may have about their future careers. If you react negatively, it may shut down the whole communication process. Keep the lines open as you encourage them to gather as much information on a particular career as possible. That research may provide results you never imagined in the first place.

Jump on opportunities! Informal discussions about the world of work with your child can be as productive as time that is scheduled. Jump on those “teachable moments” in conversations with your child.

Please do it “Their Way!” Your goal is to help your children find their own way. The career exploration process is a great way to practice “letting go.” By discussing interests, dreams, and goals, you can get to know your children better. And, if their approach seems a little different than what you would do, remember—it’s their way!

Step outside the Box! Here’s a chance to play sociologist or teacher and observe your child. What does she/ he like or dislike? How do they work, play, or interact with others? This will help you see your child in a different light and provide you with valuable information to assist them in career exploration.

Be practical and realistic: Encourage your child to explore their options through work experience and by talking to people in occupations that interest them. Help them to make realistic decisions about their career pathway and choice of study.

Identify area of Interest: Parents can help the students to identify the broad area of work that interest them, what sort of environment they would like to work in and then to link this to their unique skills, interests, abilities and values.

How to begin?

The best way to begin career exploration with your children is by talking about your own career. What do you do in your job? What decisions did you make that led you to this point in your career? Teens aren’t always overly interested when parents begin to share their wisdom with them. You can begin to discuss career exploration as early as elementary age to help build self-confidence and career awareness. A good activity to use with your children, regardless of age, is to discuss occupations that you observe in everyday life and what those jobs may entail. Teaching children responsibilities and the importance of completing tasks at an early age are skills they will use regardless of what career they choose to follow.

The career decision-making process described below includes activities that can begin in middle school and continue into high school and post-secondary education.

Action 1 – Learn more about your child

Who knows your child better than you? Review the results of the assessments with your children. Discuss his/her interests and dreams to help determine goals for the future.

Action 2 – Identify Some Possibilities

Help your child to explore a variety of options. Discuss the duties and tasks and requirements of different occupations. Review the opportunities around after the school and college.

Action 3 – Evaluate Options

You and your child may also want to consider lifestyle implications and the overall impact on life for each option. For instance, will the job require irregular hours? Will the salary support the lifestyle your child wants? How much education does the occupation require? It’s important for your child to understand the relationship between lifestyle, occupational choice, and educational pursuits. Help your children understand and balance the difference between wants and needs

Action 4 – Make a Choice

Encourage your child to explore a variety of career areas. The economy, demographics, and technology will continue to change the workplace. Some jobs become obsolete while other new jobs emerge. Some occupations may maintain the same title, but they may change or evolve so drastically that they no longer resemble what they were a decade earlier. As the workplace continues to change, it will be more important to focus on groups of similar skills and how they can be transferred from one occupation to another. Help your child to build a budget so that he/ she understands what expense items will come out of a monthly income.

Action 5 – Create an Action Plan 

Planning and organization give direction to your children’s future. Encourage your child to take challenging courses. If you haven’t already started with a savings plan for higher education fees, find all options available to get scholarships, fellowships and interest free students loans. Why? Many of the scholarships will be based on achievement and required courses through the high school years.

Take Action

Encourage your child to stick with a rigorous school curriculum to build a strong foundation in math, reading, writing, computer skills, and science. The stronger the foundation, the more career options will be available later in life.

Review and Revise

As your child matures and gains more experiences, his/her interests may change. Course selection in high school can determine your child’s course of action after graduation. For instance, if your child wants to go to college and he/he hasn’t taken the required courses, remedial courses may be necessary. Help your child to stay on target by taking the necessary courses. Remember that all plans should be flexible in case your child wants to change some of the goals she/he set earlier on.

Why all this?

Use these suggestions to help your child plan his/her future. Remember that it is your child’s future! It is your role to separate your innermost desires and wishes from that of your child. Help them reach their own dreams.


(The author works with CIGMA Foundation, M.S.W. Career Guidance & Info Center, Bangalore) 

Do you have any questions on education / Career? Do you feel you need guidance & counseling? Email or write your queries to us.  CIGMA Foundation, No. 214, United School Building, Ilyasnagar, J. P. Nagar, 6th Phase, Bangalore – 560 078. Email:

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