There are times when our kids want to do something that we care about, and everything flows. Then there are the times when they want to do something we feel is wrong for them. My experience is that this is common when it comes to career choices.
It’s challenging, we want to give advice, to tell them ‘no.’ We have this urgent desire to say to our child that what they are thinking makes no sense. But, this rocks the relationship we have with them. It can make them defensive. It can push them into wanting something even more. The other issue is that what they are considering might be the right choice for them!
What do we do? How do we guide our child in this situation? How do we maintain our relationship with them?
Consider Helen’s Story
Helen has a teenage daughter, Janelle (not their real names). Janelle was struggling with her schooling. There was pressure to figure out what she was going to do after high school. Janelle was following many fashion models on Instagram. Over time she became sure this was a career she wanted to pursue.
When she announced this to her mom, Helen was aghast! She felt horrified that her daughter was considering this as a career path! At the same time, Helen held back from giving her opinion. She took a deep breath and said that this is something they should both learn more about.
What Helen did next is vital. She contacted a coop teacher she knew from Janelle’s school. She shared what was going on and if there was a way to help Janelle learn more about the industry. The coop teacher was keen to help and linked Helen up with a contact at a modeling school. Helen provided her daughter with the contact information. Janelle followed up.
Janelle was invited to come and spend a day at the school. She mixed with the students and talked to the teachers. They styled her hair, and she got a great makeup lesson. While there she also learned a lot about the realities of the industry.
There were stories of exciting opportunities, but there were challenges too. Some of the girls she spoke to had already had plastic surgery. There were stories of low wages and issues about learning to deal with rejection. It gave her pause to think a lot about what she wanted.
When she got home, she was excited to share with her mom all that she learned that day. At the end of her conversation, she shared that this was not something she wanted to do anymore. She did not like the pressure she felt while being there. It was not for her.
Helen let out a sigh of relief.
There are two valuable lessons here. First, Helen maintained a positive relationship with her daughter through this process. Second, her daughter learned about the power of researching her interests. She had gained a powerful new skillset that she will need throughout her career!
…of course, this could have gone differently, we’ll discuss that in a future post…
Do you have a story about parenting, kids and careers? Drop me a line, I would love to hear from you! You can fill in the contact form or reach me here: rob (at) straby (dot) com
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.
Image courtesy of Mark Goebel