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How To Let Children Choose Their Own Career


Because they don’t actively spend, you may think children don’t think about working. But children think about their future job more than we think. 

This choice is a decisive step that is generally taken around adolescence. 

However, we can help our children very early on to refine their choices and help them navigate through all the possibilities of a future profession and above all help them choose a career where their strengths and passions will combine.

Some people, unfortunately not all, are passionate about their job. Isn’t that what we want for our children? For them to be passionate?

When it comes to choosing a career, from an early age our children receive all sorts of advice – whether asked or unsolicited – that will not help them choose a job that will be fulfilling for them. 

The “advice” most heard – consciously or unconsciously – by children are generally:

“It is better to choose a prestigious profession”.

“You have to choose the job that will bring in the most money.”

“Take the safest path where there is no risk of failure”

“A job is just a job. Work is not meant to be fulfilling.”

“This job is not for boys” or “You’re a girl and that’s a boy’s job”

“So-and-so loves his job, so that’s the right thing to do.” 

Or, on the contrary: “So and so hates his job, so he shouldn’t be chosen.”

Doing a job you love makes life much more satisfying. It is therefore imperative that we guide and encourage our children in their quest for a job they love. 

Here are some tips you can implement early on to help your child choose a future career they will thrive in.

Your child is not an extension of you

Your child is a unique individual in his own right. He is not a mini-you with the same tastes and the same expectations as you. 

Do not choose for your child and do not impose on him a path that you yourself would have liked to follow. In the same way, your child may not want to do your job and do not demotivate him if he shows interest in a career in which you do not recognize yourself. It’s not about you.

Help your child discover their strengths and passions


This introspection can take several forms depending on the age of your child. As a child , encourage him to discover the sport he is passionate about (read ” 9 ways to help your child choose his sport “). 

This will help her identify certain traits of her character that may be important: does she perform better as a team or individually? Is he comfortable outdoors? 

Write down the circumstances in which your child works best and is most fulfilled. All of these skills and preferences are clues to his strengths.

For older children, you can refer them to a career counselor for aptitude tests. 

Be careful, however, not to base a decision on these tests alone, it is very useful to carry out various evaluations and look for trends in the results. 

If your child is interested in a career that doesn’t seem to fit their natural strengths, that doesn’t mean you should immediately rule it out as a career. 

Instead, think about how your child might put their innate strengths to use in this area. What counts above all is his passion for the field in question. He’s not good at math but later he wants to be an engineer and build bridges? No problem, just tell him to work more on math.

Skills are acquired more easily than passions, they are the ones to be privileged. In any case, do not rule out a job because it does not have the skills. Do not limit him in his passions – the only limits are those set in his mind by himself, and also by you sometimes.

Don’t let your Child Self-limit or Censor themselves

Until she was 20, Marion thought she was not strong enough compared to men to be a climbing instructor or to go on big mountain expeditions. Today, she is the first woman to have been part of the High Mountain Military Group and the first CRS female High Mountain rescuer .

Our children often set limits on themselves based on what they see or hear. The lack of role models they can identify with is a real problem and they may have inner thoughts like:

since I don’t see any women in this profession then it must not be possible for them. Too bad, it’s not for me since I’m a little girl; 

I hear that girls are sweeter and more caring than boys. You need these qualities to become a nurse, but since I am a boy, I don’t have them. Besides, I never see a “male” nurse. It should not be done for boys because it is too hard for them.

This self-limitation and self-censorship is dramatic for the future of our children. We must do our best to expose our children to role models they can identify with in all trades and tell them relentlessly that they can do anything and that the only limits are those they impose on themselves.

Finding models for your child is easier than it seems.

Solicit role models and see if they would be willing to meet your child and let your child learn about a trade from someone they can relate to.

Expand the list of jobs for your child

As parents, we don’t know the full universe of available jobs, especially ones that didn’t exist when we started our own careers. 

We all have a list of jobs that come to mind without thinking: doctor, lawyer, firefighter, policeman, airplane pilot… Children are more likely to go for what they know. By limiting their exposure to only certain “known” trades, you limit their choice in the future. 

For example, in the fields of law, we immediately think of judge, lawyer or police officer but we think much less of auctioneer or private detective.

Educate yourself and broaden your horizons to broaden those of your children. To help you, you will find at this link  a list of more than 1,500 professions. 

We suggest that you go through this list with your child and see which profession catches their attention. For example, you can see all trades starting with “A” for one week and then all trades starting with “B” the following week and so on.

Expose your child to a variety of activities to see what sparks their interest

Give your child the opportunity to try new activities. Expose your daughter to nature, arts, science, museums, animals, travel, people, If there’s a subject that interests or excites her, encourage her to learn more on this topic. 

Often, the decision to choose a certain area of ​​activity is built gradually, as children deepen their knowledge and interest in this area.

For your child to multiply the experiences and motivate him if he is a little lazy, you can for example condition the payment of his pocket money to the realization of a defined work. 

For example, you can suggest that your child try out to be a journalist, private detective or police officer and give her her pocket money after she writes (or recites depending on her age) to you about an event that occurred in the neighborhood or at school after investigating and questioning classmates or neighbors about this event.

Abstract professions are more complex for children to grasp, but not impossible: they can be a statistician for a day. 

Explain to him what it consists of and either he manages to invent himself an experience that sticks to this profession, or you can suggest that he go and interview 15 people around you and ask them to choose between three flavors of ice cream. 

He will be able to present his results to you and even try to make correlations between the choice of the flavor of the ice cream and other criteria such as age for example.

Set a Good example

“Exemplarity is not a way to influence others. It’s the only one”. 

This quote from Albert Schweitzer – 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner – tells us that the only way to positively influence our children is to show them by example. 

Indeed, many studies have demonstrated the importance of mimicry in children: they reproduce the behaviors seen in their parents.

Strive to show that you’re passionate about your work, and when your child sees you building a career you truly love, they’ll know it’s possible for them to do a job they love, too. 

Also, feel free to discuss the trials and triumphs of your own work with your children from an early age.


Be Patient and Encourage Your Child to find their way

Remind your child that finding a job they love is often a long process of self-discovery and experimentation. He can change course as he goes through his thoughts and experiences. 

Be patient with your child during these difficult decisions, and encourage him to continue to learn more about himself. Think of yourself as a foundation, raising its children and supporting them on their journey to the ideal career. 

You give them a nudge, but they are the ones who go looking for different possibilities. There’s no better way for your child to know for sure what he likes or dislikes than by trying. 

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