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Encouraging or pressuring your kids to go to college may not lead them to the career of choice.

When you were in high school did your parents pressure you to go to college?

Did they explain the pros and cons or give you a choice to go to college?

I was very fortunate that my parents let me choose my career path but most kids in high school are encouraged by their parents, teachers, and counselors to enroll in college shortly after they graduate.

According to the Hechinger Report, the number of students enrolling in college is up but fifty-five percent of students who enrolled in college in 2015 did not enroll the following year. Many went to college because their parents made them not because they wanted to. Forty-four percent of the students that return for a second-year leave before finishing.

How can we help our kids make a wise choice when it comes to choosing a college, online classes or starting their own business?

One way you can help your child decide what is best for them is to encourage them to consistently be planning what they want to do and envision who they want to be when they grow up.

Live Your Dreams

In an article from Time magazine, I read that children are much more energized when they envision a future that is in line with their own values than when they dutifully do whatever they believe they have to do to live up to their parents’ or teachers’ or college admissions boards’ expectations. We don’t inspire our kids through fear. We inspire them by helping them to focus on getting better at something, rather than being the best, and by encouraging them to immerse themselves in something they love.

Dr. Kerry Petsinger   recommends 7 Ways to Help Your Child Choose a Career

  1. Resist treating your child as an extension of you. Your child is a unique individual. They are not you.
  2. Help your child discover their strengths and passions. Encourage your child to visit with a career counselor to take aptitude tests.
  3. Help find a mentor for your child. Seek a positive, encouraging role model for your child.
  4. Expose your child to a variety of activities to see what piques their interest. Give your child opportunities to try new activities. Expose them to nature, the arts, science, museums, animals, travel, people…there are so many opportunities to enjoy together.
  5. Find your tribe, and encourage your child to find theirs. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” As a parent, have you built a wonderful tribe of people around you? And, are you encouraging your child to find their tribe?
  6. Set a great example. Your child watches your every move, so work on being a great example of doing work you enjoy.
  7. Be patient and encouraging. Remind your child that the quest to do work they love is often a long process of self-discovery and experimenting.

When it comes to helping your child choose a career path it might be better to take on the role of a teammate than a parent.

Person with arms open wide

Leave me a comment about your experience in choosing your career and how it worked out for you.

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