Career Advice

4 Tips for Talking to Teenagers about Work and Careers

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Having a productive talk about work and careers with teenagers can often feel like an impossible task, and some parents frequently compare it to talking to a brick wall. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and all it takes in most cases is some good timing and a little tact. The truth is that your kids are probably more excited to learn about careers and their future in the workforce than you might expect, but this conversation must be approached the right way in order to be successful.

1. Adjust Your Expectations to the Current Generation

Remember that pursuing a career now isn’t what it used to be when you were starting out – in fact, we’ve seen some of the most drastic changes in the job market over the last couple of decades. You have to approach the conversation with that in mind and understand that you might not be fully aware of every detail relevant to the situation. Your kids might even know details that you don’t, and you should respect that. Admitting that you don’t know everything is a powerful move in these conversations. You must also remember that there are more resources at your disposal as a parent to help your kids progress through their education leading up to their careers, and it’s very important to take advantage of those opportunities if you want your kids to have the reassurance that you’re looking out for them.

2. Explain the Good and Bad Sides of the Career Race

It’s important to avoid painting things in an overly positive light. Sure, you don’t want to scare your kids away from the prospect of seeking jobs and advancing in their careers, but at the same time, you don’t want to set any unrealistic expectations. That will only lead to disappointment down the road. Make sure to cover both the good and the bad sides of the whole thing, and point out that there are alternatives, like starting your own business, side gigs, and more specialized types of careers.

Having a productive talk about work and careers with teenagers can often feel like an impossible task, and some parents frequently compare it to talking to a brick wall. It doesn’t have to be this way thoughClick To Tweet

3. Talk About Passions and Dream Jobs

And on the note of “special” careers, make sure to go over the subject of dream jobs and passions. Every child goes through the phase where they see someone enjoying huge success doing something that seems like a lot of fun on the surface – like game streamers, actors, and musicians – but they often neglect to think about all the gruelling hard work that goes into getting to those positions. Kids also often don’t realise the magnitude of luck involved in these careers either, and they don’t think about the thousands of failed attempts that nobody ever hears about. Make sure that you don’t ignore these subjects.

4. Teach Them the Actual Value of Work

Last but not least, it’s good to get your kids started as early as possible when it comes to understanding the value of their work. There are various ways to do that, like paying them for chores around the house and encouraging them to take summer jobs. This is going to go a long way towards helping them realise how much something actually costs. When they see that value in terms of hours worked and not just a cash amount that means nothing to them, it’s going to make a huge difference in their attitude towards work in general in the future.

This is a hard conversation and one that takes some preparation if you want to do it right. But it’s something you absolutely can’t ignore if you want your kids to grow up well-adjusted and ready to take on the challenges of the job market. You’re giving them something that many other kids never get, and that already goes beyond what many other parents are willing to do to help their young ones succeed. So don’t stop your progress and keep pushing in that direction!

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