Whether you have a teenager or a toddler, odds are you've heard "I want to be a [fill in your child's career of choice here] when I grow up."
Whether it's garbage collector, truck driver, ballerina, pilot, doctor, or veterinarian, it's easy to discount it. After all, kids have hundreds of wacky ideas every day. But what if we were to support it instead? Nurturing your child's dreams and ambitions is a healthy way to build their self-esteem and teach them the interesting things they want to know.
Listen to Your Child:
If your child is constantly talking about becoming an animal doctor (it's hard to say veterinarian when you're small!) why not do something to help them? Call a friendly vet in your region and explain how your child is simply enthralled with becoming a vet. Would they have a bit of time when you could bring in your child? Perhaps the vet can show them around and explain a little bit about their job. Many places of work alos particpate in "open house" type programs where they open their doors to the public. Make some calls and find out. Your child will appreciate how you listen to what really makes them happy.
Find Out Your Child's Interests:
Many children and teens are quite vocal about their interests and some are more shy. With a little encouragement, most will be able to tell you what they like. Don't be too pushy. "Have you thought about your future?" and "What do you want to do with your life?" may put your kids off by adding unnecessary pressure. Instead, try to notice the activities they do, and ask them questions about it. If your child likes sports, ask them if they've ever thought of becoming a coach someday. It's interaction that will get them thinking.
Don't Limit Them:
Everyone has a place in the world and everyone deserves a shot at doing something that makes them happy. Don't limit their choices by encouraging a certain job on them. "Oh, little Billy's going to be a great doctor or lawyer" makes little Billy feel inferior his whole life if he doesn't accomplish your goal, unless of course it's his goal too. Leave the door open in case it really isn't his goal. Remember to support your children by accepting the concept of non-gender specific jobs. Little Billy can be a nurse or a teacher just as much as Heather can be a brain surgeon or an engineer.
Do what you can to support your child without pushing them. Support their choices. Sure, you might not think your child will really be able to be a doctor if they can't stand the sight of blood, but they will appreciate your support. Some day, they may get over their fear of blood or decide it really isn't for them. Either way, the fact that you supported them and didn't mock them, will mean the world.Encouraging your child in their career choice is a great way to tell them you believe in them. It helps them achieve a postive attitude and self-esteem. If they believe they can do anything, they just might.