Dear “And You Will Have Kids”,
My children are in middle school and are exploring career options. They have no clue what they want to do after graduation. Any ideas on how to help them choose a career?
Dear Just Wondering:
As parents, we want to help our children succeed in life. Part of that success is helping them to decide on a career.
Your children are still pretty young to be narrowing down career options. At this point, they should be exploring their interests and deciding what careers would allow them to pursue those interests. For example, my daughter is very interested in art. She is also very talented (at least in my un-biased opinion)! Some careers that would allow her to pursue her interests would be an art teacher, art therapist, an artist, and a museum curator. These are just a few of the options we’ve discussed.
She’s researched the careers online and she’s also discussed her talents and interests with her guidance counselor at school. Some schools actually have the students take career tests which suggest career choices. Ask your child’s guidance counselor if such testing is available at your child’s school. I’m pretty positive that she’s going to go into a career in the arts.
My other child changes her mind every so many months. Since she is only 12, I’m not too concerned. I knew kids in college who changed their majors every semester! She’s wanted to be a dentist, a veterinarian, a doctor, a therapist, and a veterinary technician. Although these careers are very different, they are all science based. Because of that, I’m encouraging her to take as much science and math courses as she can in school. We’ve checked out volunteer opportunities to which might help her narrow down her interests. For example, the local animal shelter always needs help cleaning out cages and taking care of the animals at the shelter. This might help her decide if she really wants to be a veterinary technician. When she gets older, she should be able to volunteer or observe at a veterinary practice and also at a therapy center.
I think it’s great that you are wondering about how to help your children explore career options. I’d suggest that you talk to your child’s guidance counselor to see if the school offers any counseling services. If they say no, I’d help your child explore careers online which interest them. Finally, see if opportunities exist locally to volunteer in order to further explore those career options.