You are probably doing the best for your child.
You’ve enrolled them in talent classes to enhance their skills. You sit with them in their practice sessions. You post their pictures on social media and help them garner encouraging reviews. You gather new ideas by checking what the children of friends and relatives have been up to.
But as a parent, you must also check if you allow your child to take the lead when it comes to their life – or do you want to have the final say in their life’s important decisions?
Because by the time you know it, you may be researching courses and shortlisting universities that you think would be right for them. But, are you sure that your child will be passionate about the course or career you had them settle for?
That’s why you must check whether holding on to the final decision making for your child is the right way – or if leaving it to them is even better.
Importance of child’s decision
Funds crunch, country of study, off-beat subjects, salary scope, or anything else could be the cause of your concern and your opinion. But if someone has to face the reality and consequence of a career decision each day, it is your child.
It’s your child’s future and their life we are talking about. That’s a good enough reason for them to have the final say on their career decisions. But how often do you trust your child’s choices?
Why the Hesitation?
No matter how differently a parent and a child think, it’s all for the same goal, isn’t it? Then don’t hesitate to let your child take the lead in deciding her/ his future.
Your genuine concerns about your child’s ability to decide their future may be because of:
Your past experience may tell you that your child made decisions and then kept cribbing about the consequences. She/ he may not be researching like an adult, or may not even seem concerned from the outside. But they are certainly capable and need to be trained to take responsibility.
2. Your experience
You have seen the world and hence, you understand the world better than your child. But it was you – only you who faced and experienced whatever you did! So will your child.
3. News, Stats and Facts
Whenever you hear about a change in admissions or cut-offs, you may have a genuine concern and wish that your child makes it through. Instead of taking all the load on yourself, enable your child to be able to respond to it.
4. Child’s future
The future is always uncertain and turns out different than what we may have imagined. Though it may not be clear from where you stand it will definitely fall in place.
5. Losing your say
Perhaps you feel that your child may not consult you for anything they plan. But that’s not true. They may not invite you to come and sit beside them in their every effort. But they will definitely come to you for ideas, opinions, and even discussions.
Your Role In Child’s decision making
Give your child all the support – but don’t take action on their behalf. Here’s how you can help your child make the right decisions for themselves:
1. Train them to be independent
Make them self-reliant by giving them charge of smaller tasks and decisions today, so that they can try learning and correct at their own pace. And are ready for the world tomorrow.
2. Let them ask others
They may not rush to you for help at first. If they wish to check with friends, neighbours or if they want to search themselves, do not stop them. This will help them have the confidence to take newer initiatives and find solutions.
3. Encourage them to stick to their decisions
If your child feels like giving up because it’s not working for them, then remind them that one needs to stand by the decisions made, and their consequences too. And that it’s the experience that counts.
4. Challenge them
Sometimes your child may not feel the need to make decisions or put in efforts, after enjoying a successful stint. But you are a parent. So challenge them with newer opportunities and situations!
5. Be their consultant
Surprised! But this is exactly the person your child needs – a consultant who is willing to listen to them and one who will not judge them. Why not be the one yourself?
A few Don’ts
Sometimes parent-child interactions on career and life decisions end up in conflicts and hurt. And this may tempt you to feel like giving up on your child’s decisions altogether. Let this not become a roadblock.
Here are a few things you must avoid to ensure a wonderful partnership with your child.
1. Don’t be disappointed
We have many expectations from our children. Hence, it may sometimes become a burden for children to keep proving themselves. Relieve this pressure by giving your suggestions and ideas to the child. But don’t feel bad when they don’t use it.
2. Don’t limit them
You may give your child the freedom to make a few decisions. But don’t start objecting or raising red flags when they seem to be not going the desired way. Give them some time and chance.
3. Don’t try to please others
Imagine if your child had chosen careers in fields like data science or artificial intelligence a decade ago. Back then, would any of your friends or relatives have given you a favourable opinion about these streams? But today, these are the most happening fields and hold a fantastic future. So, let’s not try to please others at the cost of something that can be awesome tomorrow.
Do trust that whatever comes out of your child’s decisions – whether successful or not, will be experiential learning for them.
So drop your fears and concerns of letting go of deciding for your child and instead let them explore the options for themselves.
To know more on how you and your child can be on the same page about career and education, speak to one of our expert counsellors, here.