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We are Like that Only

Career guidance for kids by parentsMy son Shreyas has just completed his first year of undergrad in the US. He applied and got admission for an engineering program but within a span of a year, has changed his mind twice.  After the 1st semester he said he had set his heart on Computer Science.Now at the end of his 1st year he told me over a chat a few days ago that he is more or less certain he will major in Math!

As parents, we are not too worried either with his exploratory approach or his choice of subject; in any case the college he is studying in lays sufficient emphasis on math and science foundations and will give him the flexibility to discover his specific interests with time and equip him to do a specialization of his choice in his masters.

The story does not end there though. At the end of the chat, Shreyas said his Math prof wanted to know if he should speak to us (meaning my husband and me). I was surprised.  It turns out that, in the past, the prof had to convince a lot of Chinese and Indian parents that doing Math at an undergrad level had good prospects. In other words, Asian parents continue to put a premium on an engineering degree and are still suspicious of the pure sciences!!

This incident left me wondering once more on middle class parental attitudes. I know that we all wish the best for our kids and should play a role in shaping their interests. But, where do we draw the line, and when?

Also Read : Exploring Careers


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Sudha Kumar is a marketing professional and runs a marketing services firm, Prayag Consulting. She has made her foray into publishing through ParentEdge. Over the last two decades, she has learnt a thing or two about being a working mom. That said, her views on parenting continue to evolve, as she learns from her experiences, reading, and now, from her children!

2 thoughts on “We are Like that Only

  1. Ramya

    I recall my meeting, about two years ago, with the representative of a US liberal arts college who was visiting India. She said she often had to convince not just parents, put sometimes grand parents and uncles and aunts as well (she was deadly serious!) – though the student himself may be very clear about his choice of subjects…

    I guess ‘middle class’ India places huge importance on education which is why it is high stakes for the whole family, not just the student.

    Also, I think, as a race, we are very afraid of making mistakes, and want to protect our children from ‘wrong’ choices…

  2. Sudha Kumar

    There is one more angle to this Ramya- lack of detailed knowledge- since many opportunities are cropping up for this generation, parents, who did not have exposure to them, do tend to be sceptical. They are more comfortable with “tried and tested” areas. On the other hand, culturally, children in the west are also much more independent and able to deal with consequences of their decisions, I think, compared to Indian kids, who have got accustomed to deeper family involvement.


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