How to help

Parents can be an important and positive influence in decisions affecting a young person's vocational development. Though they also wa that over-involvement in the decision- making process can undermine parental effects as a positive source of influence. Excessive parental control regarding adolescents' occupational decision-making results in negative outcomes. Parents should be cautioned against imposing their own goals on to their children or seeing their child’s accomplishments as a reflection on themselves. So while parents should show genuine interest and support for their adolescents‘ career plans, they must allow adolescents to discover who they are on their own. Some teenagers fear the disapproval of their parents if they pursue a career in art/drama/music as opposed to a practical high-eaing occupation such as law or medicine. If parents make it clear that they have no specific expectations for their child’s career, he/she will feel free to explore a greater variety of professions, choosing one based on their own preferences rather than those of their parents.

Choosing a career is an extremely important decision that impacts an individual‘s entire future, so parents can become very stressed. It is important to stay positive otherwise it can become a stressful time for all involved. Parents unwittingly can make the past seem perfect and the future terrifying.

In a study by Bregman and Killen (1999) it was documented that adolescents valued parental influence and guidance in the area of career choice and vocational development.. It is important for parents to give students support and encouragement to explore the many options available to find the best career fit. It is best to start the discussion as early as possible, don't wait until students are looking at CAO forms in sixth year.   Much of the formative discussion should have happened well before this stage.  If the process is started early, there is less likelihood of making unwise decisions.