View Full Version : How do we guide our olders in making career choices?

Kelly K
02-18-2013, 10:33 PM
My middle dd (13) spends a lot of time thinking that she doesn't know what she wants to be. What is out there to help make that decision? What is useful?

She feels like she wants to go to our local university and live at home. Mostly, she doesn't want to live in a dorm!! ;) I want her to go look at what else is out there, so she doesn't make an uninformed choice. But one of the big universities nearest us is Ohio State and that seems SO BIG. It's hard to go visit a university when you don't know what you want to be.

Any good advice?

Gail in NY
02-19-2013, 05:53 AM
i think she is a little young yet. Some dc know just what they want early in and others need more time to grow and develop. What are her interests? What is she good at? What does she like to do? Maybe observing adults in her life and their areas will open her eyes to some possibilities. I have soon to be 6 graduates and God has definitely directed them as time goes on. My next grad will be persuing the agriculture field ( no pun intended!) If we still lived in Ohio, she wouldve enrolled in some courses at ATI in Wooster, but we are here and I am checking out options of which there arent many. :unsure: We arent big college fans per se, but we are open to what needs to be in place to make things happen. Just my 2 cents......

02-19-2013, 08:40 AM
I agree. She is young. She doesn't need to be visiting universities and choosing her career path at 13 because most likely it will change by the time she is 18.
We didn't visit any colleges until our daughters junior/senior years. By then they had a clearer view of what direction they were interested in, even if it was a broad direction like fine arts or history. Now that they've been in college, they have been able to narrow down what they want within the broader context.

She needs to spend time pursuing interests at this point. Does she like art, music, science, history, nature, etc. Find places to dive into these areas of interest, not for the purpose of choosing a career, but for fun and enjoyment and to see what she really likes. This is the time to simply explore. As she tries out different things, she will begin to gravitate toward certain ones. Things will eventually become more focused and clear. No pressure to choose a career path at this point.

Tell her she doesn't need to worry about college right now. This is her time to explore and learn and discover what gives her joy. Living near Columbus affords you many awesome opportunities to simply explore all sorts of things. Give her permission to be an explorer for the time being. At this point, if she knows she wants to go to college, than that's enough to go ahead and start a college prep path for her.

02-19-2013, 10:26 AM
I would definitely suggest that your daughter go to Bowling Green State University, as that's where dh and I met and graduated from. ;) Just kidding! My sister went to Ohio State for a year, and it was too much for her. :)

It is harder now to choose what you want to be/do, as there are so many choices. Both of my oldest ds's chose their careers closer to when they were going to college. One decided to major in communications, and then halfway through, decided to go to law school, and is now a lawyer. My other ds had many interests before going to college, kept changing his mind about majors, then majored in psychology. He is now in seminary to become a pastor. My ds16, wants to go to the Naval Academy, but I've told him to have a back-up plan if he changes his mind or it doesn't work out. Your dd has lots of time to decide what she wants to do.

Becky in CA
02-19-2013, 11:20 AM
My youngest ds had the same issue. During his 8th grade year, we used the ACE 7th grade social studies paces which are entirely career exploration. That really helped him in narrowing down his interests...and that, in turn, helped him find motivation because he now had a goal.

There was another book at CBD that was similar about careers and colleges, but I can't remember the exact name right now.

02-21-2013, 10:24 PM
OH has so many great state universities, you guys are lucky in that she has a plethora of instate (if not exactly in town ;) ) choices to choose from. :thumb:

I agree with the others though, she's still young and has plenty of time to change her mind about what she wants to be, where she wants to go to school and whether she wants to live at home during her college years, or not. ;) :lol:

Julie in AZ
03-01-2013, 01:18 AM
Perhaps you could help turn the conversation in her head toward something else. I'm helping my dd see different areas of strength right now where she could make money later. DD, "I love piano." Me, "Perhaps you could teach it when you're older." Just recently, she mentioned that she enjoys sewing and perhaps she could teach or make dresses someday.

You could also encourage her to try new things to see if she has a passion for them. My ds took one computer class that I think we may look back on when he's grown and say it changed his life. He loved it, and it gave him the confidence to try an engineering group. My dh and I can easily see him working in computers in the future. My dd has happily taken short summer day camp classes in art, science and drama. A short term class is a great way to explore new subjects.

Your dd may need your permission to "not know right now" what she wants to be when she grows up. If you feed into the search by giving her books, etc. you may add to the anxiety. Only you know your dd well enough to know what approach to take, but as others have mentioned, she's still young. :group:

Susan Seaman
03-01-2013, 11:35 AM
I agree that she is young, but you can already start just having conversations about her options. Encourage her to try out lots of things, maybe do some job shadowing, trying different activities like debate, drama, sports or math club to figure out her strengths. Let her know that it is OK for her to change her mind a lot in the next few years.

My daughter definitely did NOT want to live in the dorm or attend college in another town- even up to the end of her senior year of high school. We really thought her college experience (at a liberal arts college in our home town) would be better if she lived in the dorm, but we thought we were going to be $3K short, so we agreed to let her live at home. Then it turns out her scholarship was $3K more than we thought, so she agreed that it appeared that God wanted her to live in the dorm. She was homesick, but she agreed that it was the right decision. Then we moved two hours away from there right before her sophomore year, so living at home was/is no longer an option. She still loves coming home on break, and I have to admit, my heart is still glad that she wants to be with us more than anything else.

My boys are all at the age when we have frequent conversations about what they will be when they grow up. Right now, if they had to choose, I think I would have a physical therapist specializing in sports injuries, an entrepreneur/salesman, and an architect. But really it is totally up in the air!

03-02-2013, 06:48 PM
One of the biggest things I've noticed in the young people I know is that when they have no idea what they want to do, they seem to be unhappy by age 19 or 20. I mean really depressed. I don't try and pick for my kids, but certainly in middle and high school we talk a lot about what jobs are out there, what their strengths are, and what their interests are.

In high school, as I written before, they job shadow. That has been extremely helpful.

Another helpful tool that we use is knowing their "type". I've mentioned before what a fan I am of the Myers Briggs temperaments and they were originally created for job placement. They are also helpful for understanding yourself, your family members and other people you interact with.

For example, ENFP's are suited towards the following work:

Day Care Provider
Politician / Diplomat
Writer / Journalist
Television Reporter
Computer Programmer / Systems Analyst

You can take a free "Career Test" here:

It's based on the 16 types. I have two ENFP children so I know working with people will be likely for them. One will probably work with children and I'm not sure about the other yet. Another is an ISTJ so they will be suited towards managing, working with numbers, repetitive work isn't a problem. My ENTP child will likely hop around from job to job so I'm having them apprentice in an area that provides great variety, hands-on, creative work so they can hopefully start their own business. It's an area where there are almost no young people doing it and so he would have plenty of work for life. My ENTJ will most likely work with computers, become an engineer or be a CEO or administrator.

I also really stress that no one has to do something for the rest of their life. Some of my kids get nervous to choose anything because they don't want to make the "wrong" choice. I tell them you can do anything for 6 months or 6 years and you can make a change whenever you decide. It's nice to have 4-5 mini careers if 1 long one makes you hyperventilate.