Though teens are still kids and absolutely need the time and space to develop into their own person, that doesn’t mean you should let them go off on their own. Building independence is easier when there is a clear framework and a foundation of trust for your teen to build from. If they know that they are on the right path and still have some wiggle room to make mistakes and discover who they are, they will be far happier overall.
Parents always want what is best for their kids, but at the end of the day, the path your child takes is their own. The best thing that you can do is provide tips and a path for them to take to help them reach their own goals.
Brainstorm with Them
Teens will change what they want to do specifically often, but at their age, they will likely know which field interests them the most and where their passions lie. Work with those interests and passions to create a list of job examples that they can work towards and, most importantly, what they will need to do to get there.
Sometimes the path is very straightforward. These paths are usually in STEM, particularly in roles that require a state license. In other instances, they are winding. If your child wants to be an artist, for example, try to work out together how they can make that into a career. Rather than just focus on an art major, for example, you may convince them to look into diversifying into business and/or marketing so that they can turn their art into a profitable career.
Build a Plan Together
Your teen may decide to hop off the plan at any time, but having a plan in the first place can be a great comfort and can give them an idea of where to take their future if they decide later on they want to change tracks.
Try to focus on achievable, short-term goals. If your teen wants to go to Texas A&M for one of their programs, for example, go online to see the Texas A&M GPA and admission requirements. This can help you both work out what needs to be done to increase acceptance chances.
You want your teen out there volunteering, working in a club, on an internship, or just working on personal projects. You don’t want them to overdo it for their own mental health. Strike the delicate balance between the both to help them not only with their college application but also with their future career.
Keep an Eye Out for Awards and Competitions
Sometimes earning an award is just making sure that your teen has done the admin to be recognized. In other cases, it means entering into a competition. Look up and find competitions and awards that apply to your teen’s interest, and see if they are interested. Competitions can be a great way for teens to push themselves in a field they are passionate about, and if they win, they can use those credentials in their future. If not, the experience alone is worthwhile!