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Parents: Helicopter, Submarine Or Booster Rocket?

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Build your offspring’s self-esteem. Children are very impressionable and need a parent’s love, compassion, respect and patience as they progress through their growing years. Allowing children to practice their decision-making skills early on is excellent preparation for the more complex decisions later in life. You can be like the “booster rocket” that provides the initial lift-off for your child’s growth and then “kicks in” whenever there is a need for extra thrust.

Encourage exploration. Many times students come to Career Services and say, “I want to be a __________.” When questioned they often admit they do not really understand what it means to be, say, a financial analyst. As a parent, you can say, “I do not know what career is best for you, let’s explore the options together.” Make it clear that the final decision is up to them, but you are ready to assist. Encourage them to research what the career is all about. Contact us to find about doing an Informational Interview.

Be aware of what is “normal” when trying to find the “right” career; this should be a labor of love. It requires work, but when the direction is right for the child, it will be exciting and rewarding.

Know that just as life is not straightforward, searching for the right career can be downright messy! There is a statistic that is bandied around in the career counseling circles that people change careers, not jobs within careers, but actual careers, anywhere from 4 to 7 times. While I have not seen any studies that substantiate this claim, I know that people do change careers more often than in previous generations. Sometimes it takes a career or two to get to the best fit.   The work to find the “best fit” career is not always easy, but it is ultimately extremely rewarding.

Be a role model. Some students go about their day in a self-absorbed fog, like the world was created for them, and they are entitled to receive, but not give. For the most part this mindset does not bring success in the work world. What can a parent do to rectify this mindset? Help your child to be sensitive to the needs of others. Cultivate respect for others, good personal habits, common courtesy and being responsible; impart the crucial message that you, my child, are not entitled to anything in this world – you need to take the actions to achieve the goal you set for yourself – so, aim high!

Ask Hashem to help. Finally, if I could be so presumptuous as to propose a prayer for parents, it would read something like this: “Master of the World, with regard to helping my child find a career, may I honor my son’s desires, strengths and likes, and support him to look into the options without overtly or covertly coercing him to follow my ways. Let my son find his own way and let his career be aligned with his purpose in life, just like Betzalel in our Holy Torah. May I be a source of encouragement and a contributor to his self confidence that he will find what works for him. For the ultimate growth of my child, may I not be a helicopter or submarine parent, but rather like the booster rocket to propel him to reach great heights! Thank You!”

Your feedback is welcome. Please email your career-related inquiries and/or feedback to tourocareerservices@gmail.com.

Touro College’s Career Services assists Touro students and alumni in all aspects of their career search.  The author of this article is S. Ronald Ansel, MBA, Certified Professional Coach, Director of Career Services.

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