by Rosalie Roy, guidance counselor at the CRFMV
Choosing a career presents a number of important questions. As a teenager, while your child’s identity is still developing, they must make decisions about the future. The options are many and the world of work is constantly changing. This can be difficult to navigate. Naturally, you should ask yourself how you can best support your child throughout the year. Perhaps this is the case for you. If so, here are some tips that may help.
- Take an interest in your child and listen to them
Show your interest in their future as well as their concerns and interests. Your child needs your support and encouragement. Take advantage of moments when they talk to you about what stimulates them by posing questions that allow them to better reflect different elements of their personality. These moments of exchange have an impact on their decision-making process. They will appreciate the fact that you are paying attention to what is important to them. By being attentive and showing your support, you are more likely to make them want to involve you in their thoughts and questions. However, they may be more sensitive to your point of view.
Exploration is an important step in the process of choosing a career. Often, young people’s knowledge of the world of professional occupations is limited to what is available in their immediate environment (e.g., occupations of family members, traditional occupations). However, the options are much broader, and training can lead to various types of jobs. Therefore, one of the benefits of exploration is to develop a better understanding of labor market options and training.
You can encourage your child to undertake various actions that will put them in contact with the job market and educational training. Despite the health crisis, there are still many opportunities and environments that have adapted. There are multiple options: job fairs, day students in an educational institution, exchange activities with professionals from various employment sectors, just to name a few. To exchange with professionals from different fields, the Academos resource allows you to get in touch directly with mentors who are available to young and old alike. Alternatively, encouraging your child to take on a part-time or summer job can also be an exploratory activity. This allows them to develop new skills while experiencing a variety of work tasks.
- Normalize the bifurcations
It is quite possible that your teen will change their mind one or more times in the next few years. Rare are the young who find their way on the first try. Also, the perfect choice does not exist. Your child is discovering, exploring, and getting to know themselves. They will experience moments of doubt and questioning. It is through their experiences and the process of exploration that their needs, ambitions, interests, and values will evolve and become clearer. Their choices will be guided by these changes, and this is quite normal. Normalizing these shifts, showing support, and encouraging them to make the most of their experiences is an important part of the process.
- Offer your support no matter what choices they make
Finally, offer your support no matter what choices your child makes. As a parent, it can be tempting to encourage your child to “open as many doors as possible.” It can also be tempting to try to influence their choice based on your own criteria. For example, your own salary requirements, the importance you place on a pension fund, or the rapid access to employment. However, each individual is unique and your child may not place the same importance on certain criteria as you do. They will develop their own ambitions, depending on their interests. Your child will have to chart their own course. The confidence you give them will have an impact on the confidence they have in their own choices. Therefore, this is a crucial consideration on the part of the parent.
We hope that these tips have helped you determine the best way to support your child. Do not hesitate to encourage your child to consult a guidance counselor to reflect on their plans and to help them make informed choices.
To learn more about this subject, you can visit the Parents’ Area of the Ordre des conseillers et conseillères d’orientation du Québec website: https://www.orientation.qc.ca/espaceparents/