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CAN PARENTS DECIDE THEIR CHILD’S CAREER?

“A lot of parents will do anything for their kids, except let them be themselves!”

  • Banksy

Ms. Margarete is 38 now and works as an Administrative Officer in an auditing firm in the UAE. She turns out to be a total disaster whenever she handles situations of conflict. In her words: “It’s just this… some clients who approach me behave very arrogantly and my response is not very humble as I am supposed to be.” However, if we listen to her clients or her co-employees, we get a different story.They talk to her in a normal way, but it is often perceived wrongly and leads to despicable responses from her side.

The reason behind her behavioral issues is that she hates the job she is doing and that prevents her from behaving politely to the people around. She is one among millions who endup making bad career choices under pressure from their parents to choose subjects their parents thought important to succeed in life. Her parents hardlyrealize what they did to heris hurting her throughout the life. She works but does not enjoy it and this dissatisfaction gets transmitted to the people around her.

Margaret’s ambition was to become an interior designer. While she was dreaming of becoming one of the most celebrated designers in the world, her parents were searching about engineering colleges and the admission processes. They forced her to take an educational path shenever even dreamt of. They influenced her to take up a career she did not like to pursue and unfortunately it resulted in dropout.

Later, she graduated in English just for the sake of getting an earning for living. If she were allowed to do the job which she was passionate about, it would have given her that extra zeal to work even harder. She would have woken up each morning with passion for her job and a goal to succeed.

When she was asked why she did notchase her passion, her reply was: “My parents have always made me feel that my accomplishments fall short of expectations; I’m a disappointment to them and this undermined my confidence in choosing a career direction of my own. I was forced to chase their dreams rather than mine.”

She did not have the courage to tell them, “I wish to become an interior designer. I will be passionate to do the job and I am confident of excelling in this career. I won’t be happy in my life if you forcefully make me an engineer!”

In most of the societies, students have only three choices: - become an engineer, a doctor or a family disappointment! Traditionally, parents have a tendency to be ahead of their children in terms of being knowledgeable about things. The parents think that they know what is better for their children. This is the real reason behind their intrusion. Parents impose their opinion and choices on their children without even considering what talents and intereststheir children have.

In some cases, parents have relevant reasons for doing this. They often find their children in short of ideas about what they want to become, and their career aspirations are constantly changing. A kid in class 11 is unsure of what he wants to do with his life - and the prospective constantly changes for him - one day pilot, another day film maker. While making a firm career decision at this age is too demanding, our unforgiving education system requires this decision to be taken and as soon as possible. These situations force the parents to take the control in their hands.

There are students who believe that their parents know them better than they do. They know about their children’s weaknesses and strengths. So, when they force to go for a certain career, these students believe that their parentsdo so for their own benefit.

Even if the child is not talented enough, many parents succeed in convincing them that the conventional courses like engineering and medicine offer a ‘financially safe’ future. This forces most of the students  to opt a career according to the choice of their parents.

It is important to have a balanced view in this matter. The world is changing and the dreamof each child changes accordingly. Children should also be given the right to choose their career path and live their dreams but the real world experiences of the parents definitely cannot be put on a back seat. So, who should be the one choosing a career for a child - the child himself, parents or both together?

Children should be allowed to explore all possible options and parents too must be willing to adopt a newer thinking strategy.  Normally, parents are unwilling to accept new and different options. Theyshould be educated about the latest changes in different fields and it will help them to guide their children on making their own right life choices rather than imposing on them their parental preferred choices.

Nowadays, so many new fields are opening up, offering unconventional career choices which are just as well paying as the common professions. It is important for parents to talk to their child, be sensitive to his/her natural skills and try to hone them. Parents across all income groups are petrified about letting their child do anything other than some conventional courses. Awareness is there, but accessibility is missing. Arts subjects are still considered a poor cousin of science subjects, eventhough it offers plenty of interesting and even well-paid career options. Just a little out of the box thinking is required. We need to allow and empower our children to dream and to achieve such dreams with perseverance.

We just need to open our eyes and look around to see a lot of highly successful and extremely satisfied professionals who have chosen unconventional courses which are attached to their burning desire. It is not the title of the job attracts abundance, but the passion inside us toward the job does.

Parents are supposed to provideimmense support to their kids by guiding and choosing them the right career path. No parents would like to spoil their child's future by taking a wrong decision.It is a fact that parents are much more experienced than the children. They have seen the world better than their kids and thus, in a sense, their decision would be better and correct. At the same time, children are more equipped with latest trends in thisever-changing world and they are well aware of the market requirements. They are sensitive about the way their opinions are valued. Their likes and dislikes are also having much importance as, after all, it is their life.

It is always advisable to consult a career counsellor who can assess the child and guide towards suitable combinations. Personality and aptitude tests can correctly gauge the interests and natural skills inherent in the child. It is always better that parents and children should decide together on the career they would pursue. The children can get the information about the latest trends while the parents can get their practical experience to the table to make a decision

 

Ashraf Achoth

Global Group of Education Institutions

Middle East