How to help your teen choose the right career

Choosing a career can be an overwhelming process, especially for a teenager. Find out how you can help them find the right path.

From worrying about exam grades and researching possible colleges, to checking out different professions, it’s inevitable for teenagers to feel nervous or even anxious about their future. 

If you’re a parent looking for tips on how to help your teen choose the right career, you’re not alone. Every parent wants what’s best for their soon-to-be adult. It’s your responsibility to help your children make the right choices for their future. 

To help you, we’ve put together a list of tips to better enable you to steer your teens toward the right path. 

Make them feel safe

The pressure on teens to choose a lifelong career can be crushing. Not only are they expected to know what career they want to pursue right out of high school, but they’re also counted on to make the right choice off the bat. This unrealistic view of what teens should and should not know can be extremely damaging to their mental health and development. 

Studies show that around 17% of children and teens aged three to 17 experience anxiety disorders every year. Besides causing a variety of mental issues in children, anxiety can also be physically traumatizing if not managed well.

A great way to help ease your teen’s anxieties about the future is to make them feel safe and understood. For example, you could remind them that there’s no rush for them to find the right career immediately. Let them know that they’ll probably have to switch professions multiple times before finally finding the one that sticks. 

Additionally, encourage your teen to pursue their curiosities and interests. This could be what opens them up to the career that best suits their capabilities. 

Understand the modern career landscape

Some parents pressure their teens to choose a career that was lucrative during their time. But that profession could be completely obsolete in today’s modern career landscape. Learning about the current job market can help parents become better guides for their teens. 

Parents should have a basic understanding of the different skill types that modern employers typically look for in employees. Once you have that down pat, you can recommend better options for your teen to choose from.

Check out the latest business trends together with your teen so you can get a better grasp of what to expect from the market. 

Find out their interests

It’s important for parents to not be dismissive of their teen’s interests and talents. Everyone has a passion or skill that sets them apart from the crowd. Taking an interest in your teen’s hobbies or passions can help you help them identify lucrative (and realistic) career paths. 

Encourage them to take classes or online courses to develop their strengths. On the flip-side, be honest but gentle about their weakness and areas of improvement.

Success comes with finding one’s purpose in life. So, if your teen feels fulfilled doing the things that he/she feels inclined to do, they are more likely to succeed in life later on.

Model what you preach

Step back for a second and ask yourself this question: Have you chosen the right career path for yourself?

If the answer is no, then you’re probably in no position to tell you’re teen what career path to choose. Most parents become deeply involved in their mission to help their teen find the right career; however, they fail to realize that they themselves are stuck in the same dilemma. 

Teens are extremely impressionable and can be easily influenced by their parents’ choices. Lead by example and pursue a career that you are passionate about. 

Introduce them to other activities

The less your teen knows about what possibilities are out there, the harder the process of finding the right career path will be. As parents, it’s your responsibility to introduce them to new activities and opportunities. Give them the space and resources they need to experience as many things as possible.

For example, you can take your teen to seminars and group classes related to their hobbies and skills. Or you can encourage them to explore on-demand coding courses online. If your teen is interested in historical sites or figures, perhaps you two can take a short trip to the museum or gallery. 

Be supportive and understanding

Finding the right career path at such a young age can be tough. Without the right guidance and support, teens can easily succumb to anxieties and pressures brought on by unrealistic expectations. It’s a parent’s job to make sure that this doesn’t happen. 

By being supportive and understanding, parents can ease their teen’s stresses and anxieties about the future. Teens need to feel safe so they can pursue their dreams and ambitions without reservations. Parental support and guidance can help them feel more confident and courageous about their choices and actions. 

Understanding the modern job market can help parents steer their teens toward the right career path. Not only can this help parents evaluate which professions may be the most lucrative, but it can also help them assess what skills and capabilities employers expect from prospective candidates. 

Leading by example is the best way to teach impressionable youngsters how to live a successful and fulfilling life. Thus, parents should always assess themselves to see if they’re living up to their expectations of their children.

Finally, exploring the world and all it has to offer is a great way to introduce your teen to the myriad of choices and possibilities out there. As much as possible, encourage curiosity and adventure whenever you can.

Photo by Jesús Rodríguez