It’s National Career Month in Canada. I would like to take this moment to thank parents for supporting their kids’ careers!
Why? Because parents are the most critical player in supporting a young person’s career!
No matter which survey I study, over the years the research keeps showing one clear answer. Young people seek out support from their parents first. This was reinforced in the most recent RBC national survey.
In 2015, CERIC funded a survey that illustrated how strong this is. Parents were the overwhelming first choice at 54%, followed by friends (34%). Professionals such as guidance counsellors ranked a distant third at 29%.
This is important, and it is a big deal! Parenting is tough work!!! Young people depend upon their parents for so many things, career support is one of them. It’s not easy, it’s scary, but parents do it.
But here’s the challenge.
The world is changing fast! The rise of artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning will make some careers extinct. New career areas are opening up, yet most of us do not understand them!
The skills that tomorrow’s work will need are very different from today. The pathways that will help young people to get there are unclear.
How do we parent our kids in such a turbulent world???
This may seem overwhelming, but don’t give up hope. There are ways to help young people find their way in this turbulent world. You, as a parent, do not have to have all the answers. You do need to be prepared to take a learning journey with your kids as they move into this new world.
The starting point in this journey is to continue to build your relationship with your kids. Focus on listening to what they are thinking and feeling. You don’t need to be an expert, you don’t need to jump in and give your advice or opinion on their career issues. It makes more sense to start by tuning in to what they are concerned about.
When your child shares a career concern, let go of the chatter in your own head. Resist the temptation to solve their problem. Instead, consider asking questions such as:
- “Tell me more about that…”
- “Spell that out further…”
- “Give me an example of…’
As your child shares, help them to hear what they are saying with phrases such as:
- “So the way you see it is…’
- “Let me make sure I understand you… You’re saying…”
Don’t be afraid to get a reflection ‘wrong.’ If you are not hearing what your child is saying, they will restate what they mean. Take the time to practice and put in place these listening steps. You will gain helpful insights into your kids. Let go of any need to ‘solve the problem.’ If you listen, you will strengthen your relationship. This will empower you both for the tough road ahead.
Stay tuned; I will be sharing more content on how parents can help their kids’ with their careers!
Rob is a career development professional, husband, and father of three girls. When he is not chasing his kids around, he also likes to run on trails.
Photo courtesy of Mighty mighty bigmac