For Parents – How to Help Your Child’s Career Development
A parent can help a child’s career development in different ways throughout the life span.
Career Development is a complex process which is learned one step at a time.
Here are a few ideas adapted from the National Career Development Association’s Career Development Policy Statement:
- Include children in small tasks around the home in ways that are fun and age-appropriate.
- Comment on what your child does well, show appreciation for the child’s contribution and efforts.
- Make the connection between your child’s learning and increasing ability to help out in the family.
- Continue with the pre-school age idea, and begin introducing the concept of work values, such as valuing the child’s contribution to family or society through their efforts, and feeling good about one’s accomplishments.
- Give your child opportunities to develop good work habits: being on time, doing one’s best, cooperating with others, problem solving or being creative, and following directions; and acknowledge these accomplishments.
- Observe skills others use in their work, and share your observation about how one’s education may have prepared people for their work.
- Do not emphasize your child’s career choice, instead help your child become aware of a wide array of occupations by exposing them to and conversing about the many occupations that you see around you.
- Continue with Grades K–6 ideas, and start to focus more on increasing your child’s self-understanding.
- Help your child to think about activities and subjects that interest him or her, personal strengths, areas that are challenging, personality characteristics, etc.
- Help your child find opportunities to get involved in community volunteer work and/or a paid part-time work to increase the child’s self-awareness and continue to develop a good work ethic.
- Help your child become aware of options for the senior year and after high school, but don’t expect your child to make a career choice at this time.
- Helping youth make good decisions about their immediate educational/career plan after high school is the focus. At this time, it is good in involve a high school counselor who has expertise in this area.
- A plan is more likely to be general (short-term career training, pursue Bachelor’s degree, work after high school) rather than tied to a specific long-term goal.
- It is common for youth at this age to change their minds about the option they want to pursue, so plans that are tentative and allow change as the youth gathers more information are usually most practical.
- Professional counselors are provided at most high schools, colleges and universities to help students transition from high school to selecting a career path.
College Years and Beyond
- Communicate that you understand career planning is time consuming and is sometimes intimidating.
- Look for and tell your child about community or college resources that provide professional career counseling with career assessment and career information, and developing job search skills such as the MCC Counseling Department, MCC Career Services and the McHenry County Workforce Network.
- Think of people your son or daughter could interview who work in a career field of interest.
Reference: National Career Development Association (2011). Career Development Policy Statement.