• India’s most comprehensive parenting portal, with excerpts from ParentEdge – India’s leading parenting magazine

A Parent’s Role in Career Choices

Could you name a few factors that influence a parent’s choice? Do you find these reasonable?

  • Familiarity with the choice, their experience or a friend’s/family member’s experience: For example, a family of doctors may not resist too much if their child wants to become a chartered accountant, as they may be aware of many successful chartered accountants.
  • Successful role models: If parents are not familiar with the child’s choice, they will look for successful role models in that field.
  • The parents’ own unfulfilled dreams: For example, compelling their child into a career in sports; or if their own choice of career has made them unhappy, this will prompt them to discourage the child from choosing the same.

Finances are not seen as an influencer, but more as a constraint; and thereare numerous ways to overcome these constraints. For example, an expensive professional degree need not be the only path to become an Investment Banker or a Brand Manager – there could be other paths. In many cases, once the child is clear on what he wants to do, he can identify different ways to get there!

Dr. Ramakrishnan recommends three areas students and parents should pay attention to when investigating various career options:

Check if interest actually matches with what your child intends to do – for example in the case of medicine, is he really interested in interacting with people and helping them?

Does he have the required skills, or the opportunity to develop these skills? What is required to be successful as a doctor is different from what is required to get a medical college seat. For the latter, you need to secure high grades and score well in an entrance test. But to become a great surgeon, for example, you need excellent hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills, the ability to work well under pressure, empathy, and good communication skills.

Does his vision of the lifestyle he envisages actually match the career choice? For example, if you become a management consultant, you may have to travel a lot and be away from your family for a large part of the week. Is this something that he is prepared to do? So your child may need to reconcile his expectations to reality.

R Sridhar, an innovation coach based in Mumbai (and an expert on the ParentEdge panel), recently conducted a workshop called ‘I WISH’ with students of Grade 9. The workshop facilitated a discussion on career choices by helping students understand their top five talents, and then using these to explore career options. His reflections are captured below:


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