The question is still, what would you like to do after you leave school? What are the criteria one should use when deciding what you - or your child - is going to do once school is finished?
Especially for parents, the answer to the question of what your expectations are of your child in their job choice is going to be difficult. This is primarily because they are your expectations and not your child’s, and they will be different. You can read Part 1 here
Take yourself back to when you first saw your child, sometime after he or she was born. Can you remember what went through your mind at that time? For each person that is a special and unique moment. One thing I am sure of, you didn’t say to yourself that you would love him or her if they became an engineer, or a doctor, or lawyer, or anything else. You simply loved the child unconditionally and completely.
So what has changed?
Why must your teenager get a job that they are probably not suited for, one that they don’t want either? If they don’t want to do what you want, they are somehow diminished in your parental eyes.
But I only want what’s best for my child, I hear you argue. What’s wrong with that? Mostly nothing.
The problem is that very often it’s not what’s best for the young adult. It’s the parental fear that we may have raised a child that is somehow inferior to others.
"But he’s such a bright kid," or "she’s so clever," are probably true, but that does not mean that they should become doctors, accountants or engineers, or any other kind of 'proper job.'
As we get older, we become more fearful and distrustful of the world. For a parent this is really difficult. In order to combat this fear, we do a really silly thing. When our children are about to leave school we send them the message that their choice of career is “not good enough!” This is often said before they have even made their choice.
We don’t even do this diplomatically. We barge in and are scathing about anything that doesn’t suit our vision, our need to see our child rise to the top, like a blob of cream.
“You won’t be able to bring up a family doing that… Acting is not a real job, you will have to waitress to support yourself… Accountants make a lot of money, and you can work anywhere in the world…"
Many of the most successful - and wealthiest people do not have degrees. Steve Jobs who founded Apple and saved Disney from extinction, and who dropped out before the end of the first semester is a great example. Richard Branson of Virgin Fame has no post-school qualifications at all. This despite his father being a barrister and his grandfather a High Court Judge!
Over the years that I have coached people with ADHD, I have come across many people - adults of all ages - who are desperately unhappy because they trundle listlessly through each day earning their daily crust, not being challenged.
It is more important to be happy than to be wealthy. Of course, having both is better, but to be unhappy, unchallenged, and unstimulated is not a life in any sense of the word.
I don’t know any wealthy people who are more or less happy than those who are less wealthy.
John D Rockefeller who used to be the wealthiest man in the world had lots to say about the subject.
“I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money's sake.”He also said, “If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.”
As parents we need to be wary of imposing our expectations on our children. We need to be sure that we are not pressurising our offspring to go into something that is suited to them, especially if this is done under the guise of, “it’s for your own good.”
Encourage your children to investigate different careers. They should research properly. The goal of a great career for anyone is enjoy their job so much that never work a day in their lives.
For children with ADHD, careers that use the right brain are better than left brain dominated careers. In other words, The arts, journalism, design, politics, criminal law, marketing, entrepreneurial activities, agriculture, medicine, software development, jobs that are done mainly outdoors, etc are excellent examples.
Accounting, corporate law, engineering, auditing, librarian, career counselling, computer programmer, accountant, admin clerk, human resources administration, computer technician, banker, financial adviser, are examples of good left brain careers.
As parents we need to ensure that our children can lead a contented and productive life.
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