When discussing careers start from the very beginning

By Susan Pohorski

Remember the song in The Sound of Music when Sister Maria teaches the children to sing? “Start from the very beginning,” she advises. When you begin to consider your child’s future career and education, don’t start with college or university choices. Start with your child’s interests, personality and talents. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” may not be the best approach either.

It is better to ask your child about their interests and strengths, suggests Steve Langerud, director of career services at DePauw University. “You describe yourself in a functional way and then figure out what that’s called and if people get paid to do it,” he told the New York Times.

What are your child’s hopes and dreams for the future? Ask him or her to describe things they like to do. Ask her to describe a time when she did something she enjoyed and felt she did it well. Ask him what personal qualities describe him. As you discuss your child’s natural talents, interests and abilities connect these to a career cluster or pathway. This career interest questionnaire can help.

Discussing the future can be overwhelming for a teenager. Be sensitive and don’t push it. If your child isn’t interested or is too overwhelmed back off and wait for a better time. Driving in the car is a good time for private conversation away from siblings or friends, computers and television.

 

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