In today’s world of information overload, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by the amount of choices we have to make each day. And this, despite years of experience behind us! Imagine then the dilemma of a school-going child, who has to deal with the same amount of information and still make the difficult choice on his/her area of interest, despite peer pressure and unfortunately parental pressure too! It sure is a tough life for a child born in today’s over-exposed world! How can we then, as parents, help our child to pursue as a career, without pressurizing them, but just being a pillar of support?
When Max New York Life igenius approached me to write on this subject, I started by reflecting back on the choices I have made in my life, and how I was guided to make the same. As a child, I recall, I was inclined towards a wide array of activities and tried my hand at everything under sun, right from dramatics, to debates, to sports. In fact, I even recall winning an award for being an all-rounder during my early schooling days. However, unlike today, in my generation, despite other interests, a lot of importance was placed primarily on academics, and academic-related careers like medicine, engineering and management among others. That’s how I came to be a doctor!
The situation has changed dramatically for children today, with parents much more open to alternate careers and even supportive of their choices. Whereas in earlier days, careers such as fashion designing, modelling, singing or sports were considered a rarity, today we find more and more youngsters pursuing a career in these fields seriously. Considering this, I was one of the lucky few in my generation who got an opportunity to pursue two careers, and quite successfully too. Singing was always a part of our culture at home, and academics was also equally important. So, while I became a doctor, I did not let my passion for music subside. A day has 24 hours, and I think that’s enough for anyone to pursue more than one area of interest. That’s how I not only enjoy my career as a musician but also as a practicing doctor.
While a gradual acceptance in alternate careers is seen among some parents today, by large, most of them are still at sea when it comes to helping/guiding their child choose a career of their interest. And while every parent wants his or her child to be successful in life by choosing an appropriate career, forcing the child to pursue a career of your own choice may become a burden for the child.
So, how can we as parents avoid passing on our ambitions on to the child, and instead help them identify their own areas of interest? Here are some thumb rules that I try to follow, which I think would be helpful to the parents:
- Provide ample options: Expose your child to as many activities as possible, without stifling him/her of course. You will be surprised at how intuitive your child really is about his/her area of strengths and how easily he/she is able to identify what he/she would like to pursue. Your job as a parent should be to provide the avenues, but ultimately you should let your child make the choice.
- Keep an open mind: As parents, our first instinct is to protect our child, and share our opinion on what we feel will be the best possible option for them. In fact, there are so many times I stop short of telling my children what to do and what not to do. It is important for us to let our children develop their own personalities, which includes making choices and decisions, especially ones pertaining to their careers. You can be a guide, of course, and counsel them on the pros and cons of any choice, but let the choice be theirs.
- Be a mentor, guide and a friend: Parents today need to be smarter and a lot more sensitive. They need to acknowledge and appreciate their child’s uniqueness. It is important that your child does not feel the pressure to perform, but instead feels special. Parents need to understand that their child too, like them, has only one life to live and it cannot be on their terms but should be on the child’s terms only.
- Education is key: While there is a plethora of careers to choose from, including those that may not necessarily require an educational qualification, education still forms the foundation for a lifetime. A good education is extremely important, as it not only helps you become a more open-minded and informed person, which helps you make better choices in life, but most importantly it gives you self-confidence.
All-in-all, I would like to sum up by saying, always remember that you too were a child once, and you had your share of dreams, which you may or may not have had a chance to live. So, keep that in mind, when it comes to your children and let them spread their wings and soar high while they turn their dreams into reality!Tagged with: advice to parents, igenius, max life insurance, palash sen, Parenting, pursuing an area of interest, Wholesome Development