Role of Parents In Career Choices: Parental Pressure or Guidance

Parental Pressure

Choosing a career is a crucial decision in an individual’s life. In hopes of finding a clear picture, people often turn to elders for advice, especially parents. But do these advices always remain advices or turn into parental pressure, directly or indirectly?

Growing up, we go to our parents for every difficulty, big or small. In a kid’s eyes, their parents have the solution to everything. We look up to them as guides, their opinion is the game-changer in any case. 

With time, as our minds grow and develop a unique mindset, self-opinions start to generate. We look at the world through our lens instead of grown-ups’. This is when every decision should appeal to you with no other opinion clashing. 

Both of these instances are part of two different parts of life where both parties, parents and young adults, want nothing but the best. The difference is between mindset and compliance. 

Is There a Right or Wrong In This?

This is a matter where we can’t color in as good or bad, right or wrong. This lands in the little gray area in between. Parents want what is best for their children. For them to not make the same mistakes they once made. On the other hand, budding adults want their life to be the way they approach them with decisions and steps of their own. This results in a clash of ideas where parents see it as guidance, and students as parental pressure. 

Looking At It Through Numbers

A recent Joblist survey looks at how much parental impact there is on academic and job decisions. Focused on Gen-X, Millennial, and Gen-Z people who are already in the workforce. And to put it simply, this influence is profound. The majority of respondents (65%) work in a profession that was their parents’ choice. 

  • 48% of people felt that their parents strongly influenced their career path. While 40% felt pressured to follow their parents’ career advice.
  • More than half of people felt that their parents forced them to go to college. (48% of Gen X, 57.6% of Millennials, and 57% of Gen Z).
  • 2 in 3 parents said they felt disappointed that their child did not follow their desired career.

Exchanging Ideas and Not Preaching Decisions

The decision to pursue a career should not be a last-minute addition to high school. It’s a crucial aspect of the self-discovery that kids must go through as they grow up. Academic and career decisions have an impact on the rest of their lives. Having the experience to talk about, parents initiate the talk with their children young.

What sometimes happens is parents projecting their mindset onto the minds of young adults. The discussion which started as an exchange of ideas and experiences turns into parental pressure. Making the kids feel like they are being led in a particular direction by their parents. 

Parental Pressure

According to the Joblist study, this influence translates itself into pressure as reported by 40% of the respondents. Parents need to be conscious of the effects they have. Both positive and negative, based on the values they instill in them. For instance, Parents instill the value of higher marks as a measure of success in students. Preventing them from selecting an art degree over a traditional professional path like law or medicine. Meanwhile, A child with more accepting parents may feel freer to explore various professions without parental pressure.

When parents preach about these notions and career paths, it is based on what they know and what they experience. According to them, this is the way things were and how they are. Sometimes their ties with the outer world are existent but limited. They intentionally or unintentionally consider one path the way to go. Resulting in parental pressure.  There can be a drastic difference between what parents encourage and what a child wants. 

“Since parents generally live with the child during the formative years, they tend to exert a relatively strong influence on how their children make career decisions,” says Daniele Clarke, a registered psychologist.

 “While most parents report having little to no influence on their children’s careers, research shows that children have a different perception stating that their parents played a significant role in their career choices.”

Parental Pressure and Mental Health

Due to the build-up pressure over the years, students have a constant fear of pressure (parental and societal). Students experience anxiety as a result of parental pressure to perform well throughout their academic careers. In certain cases, this anxiety can result in eating disorders, depression, and even something worse. 

Career pressure

The unlikely art of parental pressure results in these young and confused minds not having someone to go to. Someone who would give them an honest unbiased opinion without any additions of their own. To tell them things the way they are with possibilities and consequences. 

But at the same time, Students should not feel ignored or neglected. Their choices and opinions should not go undisclosed. As they can gather an image of their parents being uninterested or not caring enough about the future. There is again a gray area where there is a balance between indulgence and healthy communication. 

A Simple and Healthy Conversation

Career discussion

To start a conversation, “What do you love to do?” and  What do you do well?” are two points to focus on. It can be tempting as a parent to respond to your child’s queries because, after all, who knows them better than you do?

By asking questions and then paying close attention to the replies, you may boost their voice in the career decision. As compared to a lecture, a meaningful career talk is a conversation. The reality is, that everyone should feel satisfied and proud of the career they want to pursue.

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