As a counsellor, I have spent countless hours working with parents and students. It is unclear whom I should be counselling — parents who want to impose their own vision on the child or the child who is a mix of hope, passion and indecision. Very often there is merit on both sides of the argument and I facilitate communication between them where each can see the other’s perspective. There is so much angst in this relationship which whether we like it or not impacts the career-decision-making process in life.
Where are the real conversations? Silence at home is very often peppered with long sighs with the unsaid: the tough semester that you’re just not getting a handle on or the break-up you’ve just had or the new project that you’ve just excitedly started. How to share? Will they worry too much? Will they get on your case? It’s a tough tightrope to walk on. But not sharing can increase the pressure inside of you and widen the chasm all around.
Help your parents understand your life more
Even though it may seem immature, talk about your friends, the music, the competitions you participated in and yes, the subjects you aced or sucked at. Parents want to be part of your journey and your growth. Create as much opportunity as possible to help them see the world through your eyes. The more they are able to see what is “normal” to you, the easier it will be for them to understand when you have a difficult topic to share. Keep those communication channels open and as far as possible fill them with insights into your world. Some things they will not understand and some they will, but at least they will have an inkling about what is going through your mind. Thus, when they introduce some career ideas or decisions, hopefully not all of them will be off the curve.
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