Most parents are well-meaning and want the best for their children. However, the way we approach career guidance sometimes hurts more than helps! Common mistakes made by parents include:
a. attempting to live your dreams through their children
b. refusing to pay your child’s school fees at the university because his/her career choice is different from what you advised.
c. making derogatory comparisons between your children and those you consider successful
First, the role of career guidance is a tripartite between the teacher, parent and student. This team has to work in collaboration for the best outcome in the learner. While students spend a lot of time with their teachers, many students express that their parents play an influential role in helping them determine their career choice.
Having trained career teachers from over eighty (80) schools in Kenya, we have observed that the state of career guidance in secondary schools is wanting. Career teachers are often subject experts who are delegated the additional responsibility of career guidance. They often lack the training and resources needed to offer career guidance.
An important goal of education is to help learners understand the world of work and prepare them for tomorrow’s careers. DYC endeavors to see all Kenyan youth discover and maximize their potential through early mentoring and proper career guidance.
First, let’s correct the notion that only some passions can be converted into careers. All interests can be turned into productive income generating careers. However, our tendency is to assume that only that which is given public recognition is most important. We may for example hold engineering in higher regard than athletic ability but nothing could be further from the truth. We are unique and this uniqueness should be identified, and fully nurtured. Knowing what intrigues you can open your eyes to a wide range of career choices. If your son is passionate about sports, encourage him to research sports related careers.
Easier said than done but our children need our support. They are impressionable and will often make career decisions based on speculation, hearsay and what is popular or trending as they call it. Rather ran rebuke the inconsistency in his/her response, try and establish what it is that appeals to them in each career. Help them sift between what is realistic and what is fantasy in their answers. Patiently remind them that they are unique individuals and that individuality needs to be honored. Encourage them to engage in activities they enjoy and those that hone their interests. With increased self awareness and intentional exploration, they will be able to crystallize their thoughts and make their career decisions.
Isn’t it amazing how two children raised by the same parents, in the same home, attended the same schools and pretty much went through similar experiences can turn out to be so different?
You need to observe whether this is a sudden change of behavior, or a more ongoing personality trait. If the former is true, then you may need to see a counselor. If the latter is true, especially in younger children, you may need to expose him to more activities and observe what he enjoys. Talk to his school teachers also. Older children tend to articulate themselves better, but their career ideas will change frequently. Steer away from comparing the two children because your comments may be misconstrued as favoring your daughter. Try and instead praise effort, not outcome in his areas of interest.
Ofcourse you will not praise irresponsibility. You will not sit back and support lack of focus. He cannot expect that yours is to top up his phone with airtime and give pocket money! Set mutual expectations and give him some targets to work hard towards.
Early planning is always best. An English saying states that ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Given their busy schedules, most parents desire workshops over the weekend and preferably earlier in the day. However, we are flexible and coordinate trainings with the workshop organizer. Cost implications will depend on the length of the talk. A session can be as simple as a two hour presentation over Saturday morning breakfast.
The first time we visit an institution, we offer a free introductory half hour presentation to parents. We sensitize them on career issues in Kenya and offer basic information on what they can do to support their children. This parent talk is free, except direct costs such as fuel and accommodation depending on where the parents are located. Thereafter, subsequent forums and parent workshops are at a nominal fee. Please call at least two to three weeks before the scheduled presentation to enable proper planning.
Yes, in partnership with Storymoja, we recently released a book titled Careerpedia Discover Your Career Workbook. (link to Careerpedia page) It is an interactive career planning resource that offers step-by-step facilitation for career exploration and planning. While written for students, the guide is also useful for helping parents, educators, and other student service personnel work with and understand the career development needs of students.
The guide seeks to have students gain a better understanding of their values, interests, passions, and abilities making a decision about career based on a life vision and purpose rather than the convenience of courses being offered or the suggestion of a family member or friend. Careerpedia Discover Your Career Workbook focuses on 120 careers and it is expected that this list will shift and expand to reflect regional and global economic trends. Careerpedia Discover Your Career Workbook offers teachers, school counselors, administrators, and parents a useful framework and tool for assisting students toward career exploration and planning.
Your situation is not unique. With over 75% of working professionals being in the wrong career, we often get requests from them asking what we can do to help them. Our affiliate company Human Resource Novate (link) specializes in human resources and career management services. They offer among other services career transition workshops, corporate career management workshops, CV writing services, interview preparation skills, and Psychometric testing. Contact them to find out how they can help you.