First of all, kudos to the parents who realize that their child is struggling in their career and want to do something to help them. What you do and how you do it impacts how your child reacts to your help. Depending on the age of your child, they may take advice from you about their career, or not.
More often, they are at that age where your relationship is a little awkward. They are striving to be independent and let’s face it; taking advice from their parents doesn’t fit with their perception of independence. So what do you do?
Parents – avoid giving direct advice
You may have many life lessons to share that would be valuable to your child – I don’t want to discount what you have to offer. Wait for them to ask for it and then give it small doses.
Figure out if you want it more than they do
It is OK to want the best for your children. However, if you want it more than your child you may need to curb your enthusiasm. It’s their career and until they ask for help, they probably are not ready to receive help. You don’t want to be a helicopter parent.
Transitions are a vulnerable time
Let’s think of it from their side, transitions into a career or new life stage is challenging. It’s a vulnerable time in their life – fear of being seen as unsuccessful, a failure, weak or unskillful. They want to be seen as strong and successful in your eyes so coming to you with these concerns is difficult. Even career experts who are parents realize that if the advice comes from someone else, there is a greater chance for success.
Provide the Gift of Resources
One of the best ways you can help your child is to offer support. That support could be in the form of:
- Sharing resources or articles from the internet (don’t bombard them – a quick note saying you found this interesting is all you have to say)
- Introductions to people (offer to make the connection but let them initiate the contact)
- Financial support to work with a career coach (let them make the final decision on who they want to work with)
Your child has to want to do something about their situation. You may give support financially or with other resources, but they have to be in the driver’s seat on making decisions that affect their career or life transition. If you take away that sense of independent thinking, it will affect their progress towards their goal.