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Teen Career Planning: Step 1 Getting Teens to Know Themselves

February 4, 2015
Teen Career Planning: Step 1 Getting Teens to Know Themselves

Career planning step 1: getting teens to know themselves

A good first step to take in the career planning process is for teens to be aware of their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses and their interests and desires. Teens should know that:

  • entering into a career that they are not interested in or that requires them to do something or take an action they dislike will eventually lead to a lack of job satisfaction; and
  • entering into a career that relies on the teen’s weakness rather than strength at may lead to a lack of advancement in their chosen career unless that weakness can be overcome.

Questions for parents and career advisers to ask their teens

  • Do they have a career or job in mind?
  • If they do, what is it that they like about the job or career?
  • Have they spoken to anyone about career options (e.g. teachers, friends, peers etc)?
  • What kind or subjects that seem interesting to them?
  • What makes such subjects interesting?
  • What careers or subjects would they like to learn more about?
  • Where do they see themselves in 5 or 10 years in terms of their career?
  • What do they like to do in the free time?
  • What sort of lifestyle would they like?
  • How would they expect to support that lifestyle?

Pay attention when the teen talks and listen to his or her body language.

Expectations of parents

What we know:

  • academic achievement is positively correlated with realistic high parent expectations;
  • unrealistic expectations may lead to undesirable outcomes in the teen:
    • pressure and anxiety;
    • sleep deprivation;
    • resorting to cheating in exams;
    • higher risk of depression, other mood disorders and suicide;
  • parental aspirations had the strongest relationship with achievement especially in relation to teenagers;
  • positive reinforcement of schoolwork and performance were family influences that differentiated high achieving students from low achieving students;
  • teens’ personal beliefs and expectations often reflect the views held by their parents;
  • use of effort attribution (e.g. praising the efforts of the teen) is strongly related to positive achievement outcomes
  • parental knowledge of the teen’s school work, school assignments and projects affected the parents’ ability to set realistic expectations for performance.

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