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Your child’s future profession

Your child is about to finish school and you hear yourself telling him more and more often: “It’s time to think who you want to be!”? Well, you’d better not push too hard. Otherwise the result could be quite the opposite! Here’s why.

“But how can I stop saying that?”, I bet you would ask. “I wish my child all the best and I anchor my hopes on him!”

Let me guess what kind of hopes exactly. I bet they include the idea to implement that project of yours called “my talented sun” or “my talented daughter”. Especially if you, as you think, did not make it to where you wanted. Or if you think that your elder child took the wrong path. This kind of approach will only create problems. Let me explain how.

During one of the coaching sessions the following image popped up:

The child walks along his path in life and it does so (in parents’ opinion) way too slowly. His Dad pushes him from behind (“We have big hopes for you, son, BIG ones, you know!”). His Mum pulls him forward (“I accept you the way you are, under the condition (attention!) that you are actively interested in choosing your future profession. So do something, come on!”).

Your child is not only busy with school and homework, he might also have additional classes with the tutor, and it takes time to get to those appointments in different parts of the city. He has his hobbies, too. And he gets tired. Now think for a moment – would it be easy for a tired person to walk fast, especially if others actively “help” him?

My experience shows that in order to help teenagers decide which career path to take and do so without unnecessary stress one often has to work … with their parents! So that neither them nor their child would commit follies.

Do you think that pushing and pulling is an efficient form of cooperation with your child?

I hope not.

What does true cooperation mean?

I don’t have ready made answers for you. It’s up to you to find them. You can find these answers and bring them into life with the help of the qualified coach or without.

Still, what could you do? Here is one simple suggestion.

Please become aware of what you do and how you behave yourself, and be honest about it. And if you push, pull and project your expectations, this IS NOT cooperation with your child in order to reach his goals. What other forms of communication can you think of? What does that mean in practice – to cooperate, to be an ally for your child? You are to find answers to these questions.

Let me repeat again. The fact that you realise how you behave and whether your child can breathe freely next to you, walk, enjoy life and choose his occupation will change a lot. You will stop being surprised why he is often sick and doesn’t want to do anything during holidays. Cause he is tired. Cause he has a lot of classes with tutors after school. And a lot of your expectations, too. I bet your child sees that you are nervous about his future, and thinks: „Ok, I’d better agree – say yes to another tutor, another activity, etc cause my parents expect it”.

So try walking in his shoes.

Depeche Mode has a really cool song about this, by the way:

Yes, the idea is as simple as that. And it’s the only suggestion I can give.

The more simple the solution is, the higher the probability that you will come up with answers – what to change and what to do further.

(Here is one more great pshychological sketch on what really happens when you are able to put yourself in your child’s shoes – in Russian)

The most important thing here is the following – the situation always begins to change from within. When you realise that you need to ease the grasp «we urgently need to find the answer to the question who you want to become!»

You are still skeptical, aren’t you? Well, try it first. By doing this you will help your child to breath more freely. To feel himself more free, no matter how busy your child’s school schedule is. Cause the most tiring part of all that are your expectations and intentions to help.

The following coaching formula can help:

There are various interferences or „noises” between the potential of the person and his/her efficient performance (such as fears, other people’s opinions, overloaded schedule, stress etc). The goal of the coach is to help identify this „noise”, get rid of it and trasform it. You can use coaching techniques when talking to your kids, too (in Russian).

If your child is overloaded with school and homework and has no energy to think about his future profession, then one could think of the ways how to raise the energy level! You could, for instance, minimise your expectations so that he can breathe freely, listen to your child attentively (using the so called focused listening in coaching – a simple and very powerful tool, for parents as well) – there will be a link to this article soon here!

What else? You could supply him with information about the profession which you think he could be interested in. And if his is NOT interested, please make sure you accept it. Let him say no. You could also try to reach agreement on important issues, be patient if you daughter or son is doing something more slowly than you expect him/her to do, talk as equal to equal, be aware of the tone of your voice and gestures (authoritarian style doesn’t work here, you know) etc.

This will be your minimum contribution to make your child’s choice of the future profession a fun and exciting process, not a burden!

P.S. When I was in my last year at school I chose to enter the department of sociology at our University. My parents helped me a lot in my choice as they drew my attention to this field. But I was free to make my final choice. I met people, read books, gathered information and digested it.

Thanks to my parents I had a chance to meet well-known sociologists in our city. I asked them about their job, studies at the faculty of sociology and read their articles. And gradually came to the conclusion that it is more interesting for me than entering foreign languages department. My parents were my allies during that period. And although final exams at school were indeed a big stress, I could breathe freely at home when preparing for my entrance exams at the Unviersity.

Mom, Dad, thank you!:)

Oh, one more thing about breathing. During the coaching session when I heard the formula „Dad pushes from behind as child walks, and Mum pulls forward”, I could literally feel how hard it was for that child to breathe. As if there wasn’t much air or free space around.

Give your children that inner freedom to grow up and be responsible for their choice. They will be VERY thankful.

With love,

Olga Maksymenko


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