How to talk to your child about the profession

At what age should I start talking to my child about his or her future profession? What exactly should I say? Use our guide! But first, subscribe to our Telegram channel. We often publish such valuable articles!

It starts with a fundamental question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

If we look at the list of future professions, we will find a few familiar professions: virtuality architect, urban environmentalist, and clothing recycling specialist. The current trend leads to the fact that people will invent their professions. In a dynamic world, a child must choose a job based on his preferences and abilities.

And the parent can only ask the right questions without imposing his opinion.

1. What do you want to be when you grow up?

This question will help you understand if the child has already thought about what he wants to do or if you have to generate an idea about the future in his head (read Three principles of long-term thinking to help plan for the future).

Start talking about professions from 10-12. Do not leave this question until high school. It’s not worth scaring a child with the words, “This is the most important choice in life.” Just encourage him to think about his desires and highlight them from the flow of other people’s ideas and recommendations.

It is essential not what profession children name but why they choose it. You may get the answer, “I want to be a dentist like my dad” or “Programmer because they are paid a lot.” It is a characteristic sign that the child makes choices based on understandable models, such as the example of parents or society’s opinion.

The decision can be justified because it is easier to enter a university for the chosen specialty. This approach seems practical. It is made at the last moment when the alternative is not to go anywhere and lose a year. To make a conscious choice, you need to dig deeper.

2. What do you like to do?

It is enough to remember a hobby or think about what the child likes to do in his free time. Does he find it difficult to answer? It’s okay. Envy will come to his aid: ask which of his friends he is jealous of and why. A football classmate or maybe a friend taught by her mother to sew stylish clothes. You can learn a lot of exciting things. It would be helpful to remember in what lessons the child listens to the teacher with interest.

Another good way is to play 10 Lives. Invite your child to develop ten scenarios where he can be a sailor, another film actor, or a lawyer. When the required number of scenarios is reached, we change the rules: you need only three.

As a result, you will have several favorites or desired activities. Write them down on a piece of paper.

3. What are you good at?

This question can be challenging to answer, even for an adult filling out a resume (read 93% of employers want to see these 8 soft skills in your resumes). Parents, friends, and possibly a school teacher will be involved. What request would you ask your child to help with the computer and create an excellent caption for an Instagram post? Is mathematics or literature easier for your child? Please note that we are no longer talking about favorite subjects but about those where the child shows the best results and quickly completes homework. Write down everything you remembered together next to the column of your favorite activities.

The more you remind your child of what he is doing well, the more motivated he will be to keep doing it. And in this way, you form a realistic idea of ​their capabilities in him.

4. How could you be helpful to the world?

Ask the child to recall an episode where he was helpful due to his innate qualities. For example, he returned a book that had been delayed for two weeks to the library instead of a shy friend because he quickly found a common language with people of any age. This quality can be used consciously, and there are many professions where it is functional.

At first glance, this feature may seem neutral or even harmful, as in the case of the boy Jim, who had a very active facial expression and could make the most unimaginable faces. Such an ability might annoy teachers. But Jim noticed that his antics would make people laugh, and he began to do it on purpose to make them cheer up and get positive emotions. Today we know him as a famous comedian and actor, Jim Carrey, and live facial expressions have become his hallmark.

Think of a few of your child’s standout traits and develop a practical use for them. Have a brainstorm. Let it be the craziest idea for startups or even new professions. The main rule is to justify why it can be helpful to people and why he can do it. Everything that you successfully write down in the third column.

5. Where do “I love,” “I can,” and “I will be useful” intersect?

Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, was very fond of running (“I love”), so he started selling running shoes and even came up with a new comfortable sole with his trainer Bill Bowerman — a waffle. Using his gift of persuasion (“I can”), Phil enlisted the support of the famous runner Steve Prefontaine and asked him to perform at the Olympics in Nike running shoes. It was a resounding success. So Phil’s love of running has inspired millions of people to take up the sport (“I’ll be useful”).

Using this story as an example, find with the child the intersections between his “I love,” “I can,” and “I will be useful,” and then name several professions that will combine all three factors.

6. What can you do now?

Dreaming of becoming a writer or a businessman, we often imagine only the positive aspects of these professions. This error of perception is standard even for adults, let alone children. For example, a writer is seen as a man who sits by the fireplace with a laptop and writes novels. He earns by creative work and does not have to work every day. In life, famous writers rarely become immediately, and sometimes they don’t become at all — and they combine creativity with the work of a journalist, copywriter, or translator.

You must try to find out the case the child has chosen. A teenager has many opportunities: volunteering, courses with project activities, etc. You can work somewhere informally.

For younger children, the best option is books and films that tell about the life of real astronauts, writers, and businesspeople. Read the biographies of prominent people from the field of interest to the child. Offer to play in their chosen profession, and give simple tasks (for example, write an article about how you went to the theater). If possible, introduce your child to an honest person in business, a lawyer, or a journalist. Let him tell you what his working day consists of.

7. Is it necessary to choose a profession once and for all?

When asked this question in a workshop, ten-year-olds say “No.” They saw their parents completely change their lives, leaving permanent jobs and starting businesses. It’s okay to let go of something you once loved and start doing something completely new. It’s okay to let go of something you love and start doing something completely new.

It has been proven that 90% of the skills that an adult has (the ability to play an instrument, knowledge of languages, etc.) were acquired during adolescence, mainly between 11 and 16 years old, when our cognitive abilities are focused on the outside world. The more you allow the child to try during this period, the broader his horizons will be.

We encourage your child to take our career guidance test regularly. This will make it clear to what professions the child has a predisposition.

Take the Menteora career guidance test; artificial intelligence will name your most suitable professions. The accuracy of the test is 70-80% because we use a mathematical-statistical algorithm (read about Menteora's unique career guidance methodology).