Should your career choice be up to your parents?



When trying to pick a career choice for the rest of your life it’s not an easy task for someone who may still be a teenager and still in high school.

The reality is that many people go on to change careers over the course of their life for many reasons.

Does money and success buy you happiness?

Sure, everyone wants that great career that pays out more money than the actual amount of effort put in. However, not everyone is built the same and one persons passion will be different from another.

The work ethic, studying philosophy and creativeness begins at an early age, depending on what your child finds an interest in.

I can quite easily say that there is also some inherent genetics that play a part as my own brain and interests are definitely similar to my fathers.


How to encourage your child


I can remember as a child growing up that my parents had obviously seen that I had an interest and certain developing skills that led them to encourage and pursue similar activities for me.

They also bought toys and encouraged my interest in activities related to it. It’s important as a parent to be mindful of what your child does and how they progress through the stages of life. If you notice your child loves to sing ask them if singing lessons or joining a choir might interest them but don’t force them into it.

At the time, I never thought much of it. Looking back now, I can see how this attention has had an effect on what I’ve chosen as a career choice.

Reading with a child can also encourage creativity or practicality, which is a shame as I didn’t inherit the same passion for reading fiction that my mother has. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading. My reading habits tend to be more practical, manuals, numbers and facts and figures.


Career choice


Choosing a career for kids at an early age is pressurizing your desires onto your children in the hopes that they might be more successful than you. As adults we already know how hard it is in the real world and how much it costs to pay for bills and keep a roof over our heads.

We want out children to be successful with money because then we feel that they are taken care of financially if they make all the right moves. That doesn’t often happen or it backfires on some parents who force life on their children rather than guide them.

Many parents today if they have the extra money in their budget put money aside in a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) through the government so that the child has less of a financial burden on them when they go to school.

This by no means should be used as a way to force your child to become a doctor or put into a career that they don’t want to do.

Some parents force what their child must pick for a career choice but this might only bounce back and hurt them in the long run. They won’t be happy.

Other children must take out Ontario Student Assistance Program loans (OSAP) if they don’t have enough saved for their career choice education which must be paid back after their education is completed.

Not all children want what their parents want from life and it’s not right to force a child to be someone they don’t want to be.

What if you have a successful family business and expect your child to take over and they don’t want to but you make them feel guilty about it? Is that right? No.

I’ll always remember that my mother was supportive of the fact that whatever I chose would be the right choice. She said “do whatever makes you happy”.

My parents owned a few businesses that were successful while I was young but I certainly was never pressured to run them for life or start my own.

I’m thankful my parents didn’t tell me what I had to do for a career choice but allowed me to make my own decisions and mistakes in life even though they guided me along the way.


Best career choices


When I was at school in the UK at around the age of fifteen, we had to complete a career assessment test which was a standardised set of questions.

You filled in the descriptive and personality type statements with a pencil. From there it was all fed into a computer and it printed off the possible results for suitable career choices.

Sounds simple enough although it’s only a guide for you to make your final decision on what course to apply to.

As I understand there is or was something similar here in Canada in the Colleges and Universities where choosing a career quiz or career choice test is available to potential students from the guidance counselors and basically ran in the same manner.

Things may have changed since my wife went to school but this is what she remembers of her time in the education system in Canada from a younger age.

 To be honest, I don’t think anything on my career choices struck me with an interest.

At the time, we had a family business of which I did not want to take on although I helped out a lot while growing up. I always had a strong work ethic and certainly didn’t mind putting in the effort to achieve what I wanted.

I was one of those children who didn’t really know what I wanted to do, yet some kids at our school were hell bent on being a doctor or an architect.

I know for a fact that more than a few of those people are working in the fields they saw themselves in all those years ago.

Some of my old friends aren’t as happy as I would have thought though. Just because you made a career choice early on in life and pursued it with a passion doesn’t mean it’s going to make you happy.

Your passion may end up leaving you because you do it on a daily basis. You may also find that you look back and wish you did something that you didn’t or you failed to complete a course that today would make you very successful.


How to guide your child


There will always be a family influence on child development from what career the parents have to what the child’s siblings are interested in or studying for.

When I struggled with math, my father would write out multiple sheets of questions after explaining where I was going wrong. My mother would always correct my spelling and grammar when my use of the English language failed me. I was lucky to have parents who took an interest in my education and wanted to see me progress as best I could.

That was just correcting mistakes or building up general education. Guidance came in the form of exposure to different jobs, talking about what I liked about each one and then thinking of something that may suit me better. Either way, whatever I chose as a career choice they always backed me 100%.

We didn’t have lots of money at the time so they couldn’t pay for my further education. Today is a different story because what my parents worked hard for all those years is coming back to them. Earning money may take time but it also requires effort and hard work. They did support me though and encourage my chosen career choice path.

They left me alone when I had large projects to complete and hand out advise when they thought something might not work, not criticize my attempts.

Going my own way and turning to my parents for advice and support over the years has led me to where I am now, happy.

We’re not rich, but we are hard-working. We may not be the smartest people in the world, but we’re on the road to being successful enough to live well and hopefully retire early.

Life is not easy but we all have choices and although they may not be what we want we have to do what makes us happy. If going back to school again is something that will make us happy then find a way to follow your dreams.

I had to start over with my career choice when I moved to Canada and sure it was a struggle and we had to give up lots of luxuries but we did it. Like my friend Ian who also went back to College at age 30 it was very intimidating, stressful and challenging but I never let that get in the way.

Never doubt yourself and try not to think so far into the future because you might just plant the seeds of negative thoughts on goals you want to achieve whether long-term or short-term.

If you just believe in yourself the rest will follow because everything works out the way it’s supposed to be.

Did your parents guide you into a career or did you make your own career choice?


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  1. Sounds like you had great parents! I’m totally against choosing careers for your children but one should encourage them to aim high as far as their professional lives are concerned. Often, children pursue paths similar to that of their parents and that can be okay if the child has an aptitude for it. But sometimes children end up in the wrong field because they didn’t think their career choices through and in today’s competitive world, you can’t excel in ‘any given field’ unless you have a strong passion for what you do.

  2. My parents supported me in terms of pushing me to get a higher education but sometimes I felt like they correlated certain skills with a career. And I sorta started believing it. Which is completely incorrect. Honestly, anybody can do anything they want as long as they put their mind on it.

  3. Actually, I can kind of appreciate my parents approach – they paid for college and were fine with my studying Literature to be a high school teacher (we all knew I was never going to go into something math or science related – I was always horrible at those subjects and miserable doing them), but when I decided I wanted to major in theater, they weren’t having any of it. We struck a deal where I double majored (so I’d have a degree that could actually make some money, in their eyes), and they never complained since it cost a little more each semester, but I graduated a year early, so overall, school was still pretty cheap. I think all three years cost them something like $10,000 after all my scholarships. To this day, I’ve never used that Lit. degree, which isn’t a huge deal, because I actually liked the classes, but I’ve worked steadily in theater and paid all of my bills with it pretty much since I left school (and for 2 years in grad school).

    I think it’s more important to teach your kids about money. My dad is self-employed and spent years teaching me all sorts of little money lessons in his weird ways, but they stuck. I knew when I picked a difficult degree to work in that I would have to be super flexible, willing to relocate and very, very good with my money. And then I lucked out and actually got good jobs. But even when I’ve had good paychecks coming in I was aware of the nature of this business and paying down all my grad school debt at warp speed while still socking away money in my IRA and emergency savings in case I hit tougher times… because everyone does eventually in the entertainment business.

    Wow. I wrote you a book. Sorry :O/

    1. Hi Mel,
      Don’t be alarmed many of my fans write me a book lol.. and they love reading comments as well. I think it’s great that you were able to come to a compromise with your parents and just another great tip for some out there that might be struggling with this topic. It’s interesting how Theater ended up being your front runner but nothing in life is a surprise any more. I believe we do what we love and sometimes what we don’t love because it’s what brings the money in. You are right, parents should talk to their kids about money from a young age and never stop. Cheers mate.

  4. If it was up to my mom and dad, they would encourage me to go in to nursing. Where I’m from, nursing is really the only occupation for a female. There aren’t many options other than a rare teaching job or retail cashier job. Pretty sad. I’m glad I went with my heart and convinced my parents to let me go for a music degree.

    1. I’m glad you convinced your parents as well because it sounds like music is where you wanted to be. Cheers Michelle.. Mr.CBB

  5. Our kids went their own way. The older boy surprised a lot of people when he enlisted in the military. He has always marched to his own drummer so folks were wondering how he would do with the regimentation there but he managed 8 yrs… Our daughter was always really good with kids so her going into daycare as an ECE wasn’t the surprise her brother was!! The younger boy is still trying to figure things out for himself but he enjoys his blog, and such on the computer and cars and car racing…Plus he enjoys helping me with the garden. He will figure it out some time soon.
    Our kids came to me for help with things like spelling and essays while in school. They learned the hard way to not ask their father for help. Our daughter asked her father for help with math…once…. he went through the entire book pointing out every mistake she had made and how to fix it but never did answer her original question. She was fit to be tied!!! If it was a project he would tend to take over the whole thing so they didn’t ask there either. I edited a lot of essays over the years for all three kids. They did the work and I looked it over. I remember talking to one of the younger boys teachers about a project he did, and the teacher made the comment that he knew the boy did all the work.. he could tell when parents ‘helped’ the kids do the work, but the younger boys sense of humour was all over this project!!! A history of car designs that didn’t work……Only my kid…lol!!!
    As a kid in high school myself my Mom really wanted me to take business so I did for one year and almost failed the year… just not to my liking. After getting a report from the school stating that they recommended I take something else in rather strong terms I was allowed to take the home economics courses I wanted to in the first place… marks went up a good deal then!!! I think Mom wanted me to take shorthand so I could teach her as she regretted not taking it in school herself….

    1. It sounds like taking what you wanted to in high school was a smart move since you excelled in the courses. Your kids have you as an amazing mother Christine. You do so much for your kids and they help you back just as much. I love that your son is into gardening and making those lemon trees etc. I love seeing all the photos come summer time that you share. What blog does he write or does he just read blogs?

  6. I think that parents should give their children as much information as possible to help them make the best choice. They should also lay out the expectations going forward- will there be in any financial support through college? after college? Will there be a financial safety net if things don’t work out? This can help inform the decision.

    1. I certainly think parents should talk to their kids and if they can’t than to at least guide them or help them find out who they can speak with if the child is not forward enough to find out for themselves. Thanks for sharing Stefanie!

  7. A bit of both. My dad was an oral surgeon and I helped out at his office when I was a teenager. Originally it was my plan to follow in his footsteps, which I knew pleased him. But obviously, I had a change of heart and decided to pursue finance instead. I’m sure they was a twinge of disappointment but I knew he was also proud that I was following my passion. One, of course, he helped create! I do believe parents should absolutely guide kids they best they can and encourage growth in areas their kids seem to enjoy and have a natural talent in but they should not force them into something they don’t want.

    1. When I read that your dad was an oral surgeon right away I wondered why you were not. Many follow suit of their parents when in the medical field because they grew up around it but not everyone as you proved today. I love reading about how you help children with your blog and how natural it seems for you. I also believe guiding children is a smart thing to do. Cheers Shannon

  8. My parents let me make my own choices, and I’m so glad they did. I don’t feel like my parents ever understood my goals and dreams enough to be able to pick a career for me that would have made me happy — and I don’t feel like it was ever their right to do so. All of that was my own responsibility.

    1. It should be that way although I know some people who tell their kids they have to be a nurse to help the family for when they get older with finances etc and that it’s a stable job etc. That’s not right.

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