All parents, everywhere, worry about their children’s future. It might even be the first thought that crosses your mind when discovering you are having a child. Parents can meticulously plan nearly every aspect of their children’s life, but the far-off future can be a scary prospect because of its uncertainty. Many advisory columns and books will try to give you guidance of what you should do, but your answer is right in front of you. Let your children discover it for themselves.
Parents often drop subconscious hints of their preferred career path for their children. This isn’t normally done deliberately, but it happens. This is why it’s fairly common to find multiple family members who share the same career choice. As a parent you can take a pro-active role of not dropping these hints by identifying your basis. Remember your opinion is the most important to your children, no matter what they might say. Subconsciously, and accidently, forcing your children along a career path can have adverse effects on their future career.
All children are their own individual person and as a parent it should be your role to nurture their own unique brand of creativity. Children have limitless creativity so the problem you’ll most likely encounter is that that creativity comes with endless options. Help your children explore their creativity by providing them with an outlet for it. Create projects for them to participate in, such as making exciting posters and charts. And allow them to indulge in new and exciting games they’ve made up – you’d be surprised what they can learn from these games. Or as a more active role you can take them on journeys of discovery to an art gallery or even show them a car mechanic’s workshop. Whatever the destination, just allow them to explore. All children are curious and will be willing to explore without you having to motivate them. Allowing them to discover these new and different future options will help your children whittle their list down to a manageable number of opportunities to explore.
Often the option for the future chosen by children can get parents a little worried, to say the least. Parents tend, above all else, to look for stability. But in the eventuality they do choose to follow an eccentric career path, don’t worry. As a loving parent who has laid the ground work, you have nothing to fear. Rather than make assumptions about their future path, be confident that if you’ve provided a welcoming family home you’ve already prepared them for anything that life might throw at them. Remember the modern job market is filled with niche jobs that have openings for all. If your child wants to become an ice cream taster, let them become an ice cream taster. There’s no wrong direction for them to explore when it comes to the future.
Children are very conscious of themselves. This isn’t meant in a selfish way, but as an observational point. This self-awareness is key to your children figuring out their own future. Knowing yourself allows you to start compiling a list of likes and dislikes. Allowing this to happen is crucial when helping them develop critical thinking. Critical thinking may seem like a counterintuitive habit to cultivate in your children, but it is an important lesson to learn for later on in their lives. Being able to identify what is a good and bad decision is an indispensable life skill.
Parents often feel the need to step in before their children make mistakes. This is a hard piece of advice to follow, but let them make those mistakes. We all learn from our mistakes and it’s part of life’s learning process. Without mistakes your children will not encounter hurdles and it is these obstacles that help us develop into well-rounded adults.
It’s very common for your children to go through life, and all the way through their teens, not having a clue what they want to do with their future. Don’t panic! This uncertainty isn’t something to worry about, it is an encouragement for your children. To get out of this rut, even the most unmotivated child will take to learning and researching new possibilities available to them. Creating a new idea of any kind requires research. Let them put in the time and let them explore. Encourage them to take short courses. Without this process, they’ll never be able to discover their own future.
When it comes to your children parents are willing to bend over backwards to help. But in the case of your children planning their future, all you need to do is sit back and relax – they have it covered.
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Godfrey Madanhire is a professional motivational speaker, who strongly believes in helping other people significantly change their lives. The Zimbabwean born speaker who is now based in Cape Town, has helped individuals grow, families unite and organisations prosper through his seminars, workshops and presentations. Mr Madanhire taught at several schools before moving to South Africa.