What Does My Child Want to Be When They Grow UP?
It sounds like a innocent question, but is it really? When we ask kids this question many times it traps them into careers that will sound good to their parents or if they may tell us something we will disapprove of it starts a fight that could lead to them being rebellious and doing it just for spite. It is also often asked when children are too young to really know what they want to be or they respond by wanting to be many things. It often sets up a pattern of feeling like they will let their parents down or just give up because they cannot meet their parent's standards.
I am not claiming to be an expert on this subject but I would like make the following suggestions.
Look closely at your child's interests, likes and dislikes, not yours. Look at your child's personality, grades and subjects in school that they do very well in and are interested in. Let them know that vocations as well as careers are acceptable and that whatever they chose you will support. I would even suggest looking at their zodiac sign and the occupations that fit their signs. It can't hurt, it's just a suggestion. Let them send away for information on as many careers, occupations,vocations, and interests that they want. Let them volunteer, intern, or just shadow someone in a field they like. If you are happy being a postman, police officer, firemen, or any other government worker, don't make the think that they must follow in your footsteps. And if you are a doctor, lawyer, or scientist, don't make them feel that being a civil servant, dancer, artist, architect, or small business owner is beneath them. Yes life is a easier if you make more money, but money may not be enough to make you happy. And definitely don't expect all your children to be the same, they are not clones.
I especially want to speak to parents with special needs children because it is important to know what their strengths and weaknesses are. Encourage them to do things that they like and give them the tools and the encouragement to pursue things that will help them become as self sufficient as they can. I have an adult child who has challenges and was in special ed. I bought him a Commodore Computer when they came out for $49. He took that basic computer and taught himself how to write programs and was main streamed in computers in high school. And with the help of some of his friends has turned his computer and video production skills into a lucrative business. This has enabled him to be self sufficient and survive out there in the world on his own. I must also give credit to one of my friends Fran Davis, an Occupational Therapist. Her years of working with developmentally challenged adults with Down Syndrome who became self sufficient working, traveling alone, and having their own apartments and social lives encouraged me believe in my son who did not have down syndrome and therefore felt that if those adults could do it, so could he. Often we want to protect our children and grandchildren so much that we stunt their growth and natural abilities.
In closing, one of my grandsons wants to be a registered nurse. When he told me this I naturally (smile) suggested that he go to medical school or become a physical therapist because he was always in advanced classes. My reason at that time was about money, but he clearly explained to me that he had done his research and becoming a nurse is what he wanted to do. I have embraced that and I am very proud of him and I am so surprised to see now that so many men have gone into nursing working in hospitals and medical offices. Even some Firefighters I know studied nursing for a career after retiring from the Fire Department. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't suggest something else so I suggested that my grandson shadow a physician's assistant (PA) which requires at least an associate degree to get into the two year program and he said that he would consider it....