Parental role in career decisions

In a world brimming with career possibilities, the importance of career guidance cannot be overstated. Career guidance is simply about knowing the right career option for oneself. Career guidance experts utilize assessments to help individuals navigate occupational and educational choices, ensuring well-informed decisions. As the global economy intensifies, informed career choices become paramount, especially with the growing opportunities for overseas education.

As the global economy becomes increasingly competitive, it is more important than ever for students to make informed decisions about their careers, specially with the rise of overseas education opportunities. While studying abroad provides students with a wealth of opportunities to learn, grow, and explore new career paths, it can also be a confusing and overwhelming experience, especially for students who are unsure about what they want to do with their lives.

This is where career guidance comes in. Career guidance can help students understand their strengths, weaknesses, and interests, and provide them with a clearer picture of the career paths available to them. This can include information on different industries, job roles, and the skills and qualifications required to succeed in a given field.
It can also provide students with practical support in areas such as resume writing, interview skills, and job search strategies. This can help students make a successful transition into the workforce and achieve their career goals.
The decisions we make in our early life (e.g what school we go to, the subjects we chose to study, the decision to go to university/college, the courses we choose) can impact our career path. If this decision is heavily swayed by parental preference, the child may end up following a vocation that, deep down, they aren’t interested in. At the same time, without practical guidance and support when pursuing interests, poor choices can be made.
Career Counselling can help you identify the barriers that may be impeding your success in life. Career counsellors can help you identify these barriers, as well as ways to overcome them. Students and professionals alike often fall into a pattern of thinking that hinders their success, and this is a vital component of Career Counselling. This process can be difficult to break, but the results can be worth it. And career counsellors can help you identify your hidden strengths and talents.
Each child is individual in their own way, and so may possess different skills and abilities to their parents. With this in mind, adopting a similar career role to either parent may not be the right course of action.
Parents have a key role to play in the decision-making and the general career path your children choose to pursue; but how involved should you be in this decision-making process? Should you adopt a hands-on role? What is the best advice you can give your child at this point?
Ensuring your children are set up for a successful career, future financial security and a good quality of life is a pressing challenge for every parent. As parents, your children will look to you for advice and guidance even if they don’t like to admit it! How can you help your young person with their choices?
Parents have adopted beliefs about success, how to be successful and what constitutes a ‘good job’ or ‘ideal life’. Anything we feed back to our children is based on these beliefs and our own experiences. Many of us make the mistake of trying to shield our children from the mistakes that we made – whether knowingly or unknowingly. While we can guide them away from some of the pitfalls we encountered, they’ll inevitably make mistakes and hiccups along the journey – but these hiccups are vital for their personal growth.
Parents think they know best…not always! This is the biggest challenge students face today. Their parents and guardians are important stakeholders in the career decision making process. Sometimes parents tend to believe that they know best for their child, they surely intend to help the child work towards the perfect career, but the definition of the ideal career is sometimes suited to them and not their child.
We all take time to ‘find our feet’. Parents will often say things such as “pick a course you think you’ll like” or “why don’t you apply for this job”. Though it may seem they’re doing the right thing in terms of steering their children in the right direction, parents also need to understand that we all need space and time to discover what we truly want to pursue. University, for example, isn’t for everyone – and engaging in relevant work experience and/or undertaking an apprenticeship can be just as valuable in finding a suitable vocation in which you can thrive.

Over the years careers have changed completely and the choices are endless. It is a learning curve which a lot of people are unaware about, or have intentionally decided to ignore. Forced decisions always lead to challenges. Career guidance attempts to solve this problem by helping students and their respective parents come up with viable career directions for the student. It is also important for parents/guardians to be aware of the changing trends before they can have a detailed discussion with their child.
In the evolving landscape of career choices, a collaborative approach between career guidance and parental influence ensures individuals are equipped to make informed decisions. Empowering students to explore, understand, and embrace their unique strengths sets the stage for a fulfilling and successful career journey. As the saying goes, ‘Life is about self-discovery,’ and career guidance, coupled with positive parental influence, paves the way for a future where individuals thrive in careers aligned with their passions and potential.”

Deborah David Damboama,
Department of Mass Communication,
University of Maiduguri,
Borno state.