3 Ways to Influence Your Child’s Career Choice

career choice

I’ve really enjoyed doing interviews on the FOX & friends show on FOX NEWS a number of times over the last few months. On one show, they asked me to respond to a new study from the journal, Psychological Science, which suggested that when men do chores in the home it influences daughters to move into a “non-traditional” career choices of their kids. Hmmm…

I have five kids and three of them are daughters. One is a corporate recruiter for a bank, one is a nuclear engineer, and one is a senior in college as a musical theater major. They are all in vastly different fields. I think it would be a stretch to say that my doing the dishes had anything to do with my children’s career choices. In fact, I called my 24-year-old daughter who is in Human Resources and told her about the study. She laughed and said, “Dad, no one is going to choose a certain career because their dad vacuumed or did the laundry when they were growing up!”

Men, but I can tell you that there are benefits to doing the dishes. My wife loves it!

So doing chores is good but really has no logical causal connection to your child’s career choice. What does influence that choice? Your influence as a parent. Many studies suggest that parental influence is the greatest factor in a child’s career decision.

Here are 3 ways to influence your child’s career choice:

1. Be a student of your child.

Even when they’re young, our kids are giving clues about themselves that we should be picking up. Watch your kids carefully through the years, and take mental notes on their natural skills, interests, and areas of giftedness.

Susan and I did this with each of our five children. For example, we noticed at a very young age that our daughter Megan was really good in relationships. With Emily, we saw that she had creative bent as she was always singing and dancing.

2. Validate your child’s gifts.

When you see those interests and gifts emerging, it’s important to verbally affirm your child. They don’t need to be told they are masters at their craft, but they need to know that you see something special developing in them, especially since they may not be able to see that in themselves.

With Megan, we would say something like, “You are really good in relationships and can read people well.” With Emily, we’d say, “You have a beautiful voice and great acting ability.” And we did that often with all of our children.

3. Encourage and guide your child in the development of those gifts.

We need to give our children opportunities to explore their interests and gifts. On that journey, our kids need to know that they have freedom to explore their talents–without intense pressure from us.

We encouraged Megan to take on leadership roles in clubs and other activities at school where she interacted with others. Sometimes that was easy, sometimes it was hard, but it helped her learn a lot more about people and herself. We encouraged Emily to try out for singing and theatre opportunities even when it meant risking rejection.

Guess what? Megan is now the corporate recruiter I mentioned earlier and Emily is a musical theatre major in college. They’re pursuing careers where they are using their God-given gifts.

How have you helped to influence your child’s career choice? What are they doing now? Please share your story below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.