Whether your child is five, fifteen, or twenty-five, the issue of career development is an essential and valuable discussion. I believe this to be true for “typical” children, along with every other person. Why – because how we view ourselves, how we picture our future, and what we are exposed to as we learn and grow into our future selves has a tremendous impact on the trajectory of our lives.
Now before you start thinking that I want young children to begin worrying about choosing and preparing for their future careers at a very young age, allow me to explain a bit more.
As children develop, they naturally start to think about their future selves. As they progress in school, they begin to notice that there may be subjects or activities that they gravitate toward more naturally. Wouldn’t it be great if they felt optimistic that there were many, many options for them to explore?
When I ask people how many careers they can describe with relative knowledge, most can only name a handful – perhaps their own, their parents, a close friend, or relative. Yet, there are 10’s of thousands of careers and many that don’t exist yet but will in the years ahead.
My recommendation to parents (and educators when possible) is that career development should be a part of life. How? Each year have your child “interview” an adult either in their world or perhaps who is doing something that the child finds interesting.
Please read this article by Ilana Levitt, my colleague, who is a professional Career Counselor, for some specific guidance on parenting children for career success. The article originally appeared in Attention Magazine.