Career choice: parental pressure and children’s mental health

By Wasim Kakrou

VSCOVER a career path is an essential part of a student’s life and a decision of immense importance. The pressure of building a career at a young age, however, is slightly more than a young mind can handle.

In today’s world, changing career landscapes may have offered children a plethora of new choices, but they have also been a source of distress in their lives.

The process of deciding a career path is often started at an early age, when students are not yet sure of their own interests.

While some children’s career paths are predetermined by their parents, others struggle to discover the right path, which puts them under a lot of stress.

What impact does a parent’s influence have on their children’s careers?

When it comes to career advice for teens, there are three types of parents who exhibit three different types of responses.

1. Some parents actively participate in their children’s career choices. They are passionate about encouraging their children to explore diverse career interests, they provide emotional and verbal support for their child’s career goals, and they go out of their way to help their children succeed in their chosen field.

2. Another type is parents who are unsupportive and don’t know what they can do to help their child make career choices.

3. The most difficult condition for a child, however, is when one or both parents are negatively involved. These parents force their children into career choices of their choosing, and if the child and parent have opposing views, they can criticize the child’s choices and hinder their progress in their chosen direction. This can lead to anxiety and resentment in the child’s mind, as well as the fear that he will not be able to pursue the career he truly desires.

Hundreds of college students make poor career choices due to parental pressure to pursue careers they believe are vital to succeeding in life.

How does the pressure of career building influence student mental health?

The whole process of building a career from an early age has the following negative effects on young minds:

1. The fact that grades have such a strong influence on the career path that students may or may not pursue drives them to do well. As a result, the focus is on getting good grades (which unfortunately means 500/500) rather than learning.

2. When students do poorly on tests, they are overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness and pessimism.

3. Also, even though students are allowed to pursue their selected fields, sometimes during the course they find that they are not in tune with their interests and abilities. They feel taken, but due to parental or societal pressure, they are unable to express their feelings, which negatively impacts their mind.

4. Even though students achieve their career dreams, the constant pressure they face throughout their academic journey drives them to the brink of depression and they are sometimes unable to appreciate the results of their achievements.

5. Prematurely informing students of the need for a career at a young age often makes them fearful of the future. Even though they work well, feelings of unease and self-doubt are constantly present.

6. Additionally, the pressure to do well throughout the academic journey to create a solid foundation for a successful career causes anxiety in students, which can lead to eating disorders, depression, and even suicide in certain circumstances.

What factors should parents consider when helping their children choose a career?

In the career choice process, there are a few criteria that are really important. It is essential that parents understand and consider these factors when deciding on a career path. Because parents play a vital role in the growth of their children, there are several important factors a parent should consider before making a final decision. The following factors determine the importance of a parent’s role in a child’s development:

1. Ability: Aptitude is a reflection of a child’s personality, strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, a well-designed aptitude test can reveal a lot of information about a student, which can help in making an informed career choice.

2. Interest: It’s hard to spend your whole life working in a field that doesn’t interest you. Therefore, when limiting their career choices, parents should consider their child’s interests.

3. Course availability: Courses leading to a desired career must be freely accessible physically and must not constitute a burden on the student.

4. A well-informed decision: A child can easily be misled by social pressure into choosing a career that the majority of his peers choose rather than the one that suits him best. Even parents can be drawn to a popular career choice, which can negatively impact a student’s performance. Thus, a parent should be aware of all the career options and select the ones that best suit their child.

5. Career reach: The career field describes the many fields and professions that can be pursued after completing a specific course. The larger the scope, the more likely the child will find a job that best suits their interests.

6. Salary: The income that a particular career can bring you is again one of the important factors (although not the most important factor) to consider when researching career options. Nobody likes working for a pittance. The salary should be in line with the aspirations of the child and should help a child live a happy and comfortable life.

I’ve compiled a list of do’s and don’ts to help parents understand their role in deciding their child’s career options. In order to understand the role of parents in the lives of their children, they need to consider the following:

To do :

1. Assess your child’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses.

2. Be empathetic and receptive to your children’s views.

3. Help your child find their own interests.

4. Encourage your child to pursue his interests.

5. Inform your child about all facets of the career.

6. Help the child understand the nature of working life in the chosen career by partnering with industry professionals relevant to that career option.

7. Prevent your child from succumbing to peer pressure and herd mentality.

8. Gain your child’s trust and encourage him to talk to you about his concerns.

9. Focus on your child’s social and emotional competence from an early age so that he can overcome various problems and obstacles that life may throw at him during times of stress, such as when he has to choose a career option. career.

10. Faced with a plethora of career options, children often feel helpless. Anxiety can result from the pressure of having to make a decision that will affect the rest of their life. It is always best to seek the help of a licensed professional counselor. Guidance counselors administer assessment tests to students to determine their interests, talents, values, and personality traits, enabling them to make an informed career decision. Test results can be used by guidance counselors to further guide a student in their career goals and direction.

Not to do :

1. Rather than dictating a child’s career decision, help them make an informed decision.

2. Don’t place unrealistic expectations on the child.

3. When interacting with children, don’t be impatient.

4. The scope of any career varies over time; do not try to impose ideas or points of view that prevailed during your days.

5. Don’t lead the child astray by encouraging him to pursue a career that suits you.

6. Don’t answer a child’s question if you’re not sure. In such a situation, it is always best to take some time, do some research, or seek professional help from a guidance counselor.

7. Don’t allow other people (friends, extended family or relatives) to influence your child in the career selection process.

The path to follow:

The role of parents in choosing a career for their child is essential. When children suffer from a lack of career guidance, their stress levels skyrocket. Children have a strong desire to express themselves, and when parents are unable to understand this desire, the gap between parent and child widens. The key to solving this problem is to provide your children with an environment that encourages them to speak more clearly and to listen patiently. Although the child may be wrong about his career choices, it is your duty as a parent to reason with him rather than get angry with him. Children are naturally impulsive. Keep track of your child’s changing interests and suggest career options that suit them. Thus, it is essential that you understand your position as a parent in the career development of your child.

Demotivating a child about their career choices can have a detrimental effect on their mental health, so rather than dismissing all of the child’s ideas, you can work together to gain information about the career choice and then help the child. child to determine whether it is appropriate for them or not.


  • The author is a licensed Clinical Psychologist (Alumni of Govt. Medical College Srinagar). He works at Kashmir Life Line, a free mental health counseling service. The author can be contacted at 8825067196

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