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Helping Your Daughter Discover Her Ideal Career Path

Helping Your Daughter Discover Her Ideal Career Path

By andrewdeen14Published 2 years ago 3 min read
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Helping Your Daughter Discover Her Ideal Career Path
Photo by Rabie Madaci on Unsplash

You can’t pick your kid’s job for them (even if you might want to). You can’t get them hired. You can’t force them to take the classes you think they should take, or apply for the jobs that you think would be good for them.

That’s not your job.

Your job, as the parent of an intelligent, driven young woman, is to help her understand her options, recognize her passions, and make career decisions stemming from both.

In this article, we look at how to help your daughter discover her ideal career path.

Exposure Is Key

It’s sort of weird: most people make their biggest career choices at an early age. If you think about it, you’re in high school when you choose a college. You’re eighteen years old when you choose a major. While your ultimate career path can stray from your educational background, it’s at least fair to say that your degree is a foundational component of the professional you one day become.

Here’s the problem: eighteen-year-olds (and don’t them we said this) don’t know anything. They haven’t seen much. They haven’t done much. They don’t know what’s out there.

If you want to help your daughter find a rewarding career path, one of the best things you can do is expose her to new things. Encourage her to volunteer at a hospital or animal shelter. Pursue leadership roles, try out STEM-related extra-curricular.

Also, consider trade-based professionals. Construction. Electrician work, plumbing.

And perhaps think outside the box. Help her discover career paths that involve nature, research, or political activism. There are many ways to make money and high schoolers are aware of (generous estimate) none of them.

Internships/Career Shadowing

Piggybacking off that last idea, it may be advisable to help your daughter get real-world experience. See if she is interested in signing up for an internship, or shadowing a working professional for the day. Understanding a job in the abstract and actually spending a day doing it are two very different things.

Female Role Models

It’s an unfortunate fact that women are under-represented in many career paths. While you don’t want to harp on that to your daughter, you may benefit from finding her some female role models. Girls don’t necessarily need to see women doctors to know that they can become one, but it helps to build confidence and make them feel like they belong in whatever career path they ultimately choose.

This doesn’t mean you need to start vetting your female friends based on how interesting their jobs are. It does mean you might start looking for new stories or historical accounts of females who have excelled in a variety of different professions.

Push Them (But Not too Hard)

Children, male or female, should always be encouraged to do their very best work. While it’s true enough that Cs get degrees, learning how to work hard in high school will set them up in college, and for whatever career path lay beyond their academic future.

Now, if your child is sincerely a C student, and Cs are the grades they are getting, that’s fine. If, however, they are a C student with straight Ds, you might have a problem.

Teach your daughter how to work hard in high school, and they will understand how to buckle down and get things done for the rest of their lives.

Don’t Make It Weird

Finally, try not to make your daughter feel like she is pushing boundaries or walking into a previously prohibited career path. It’s true that female representation in many lucrative and rewarding career paths has been abysmal. It’s also true that asking your daughter to shoulder that burden won’t get her very far.

Preparing your child for adversity is one thing. It’s ok, for example, to help your child understand early that she may be one of the only females entering the engineering program that she is interested in (women statistically make up a modest percentage of engineering students).

However, it’s not a good idea to make your child feel pressured or obligated to pursue a career path that was once considered out of bounds to women.

The impulse to do so is natural, common, and certainly derived from a good place. You want your daughter to have a good career, same as any parent. Your job now, however, is to understand that the best career path for your daughter is the one she chooses herself. Equip her with the resources she needs, and let her make her own decisions.

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