Your child has just disclosed that they want to work in the Amazon rainforest and observe its natural flora and fauna to find solutions for the sustenance of the world’s biggest natural ecosystem. You are shocked and instantly start to worry. You are tempted to scream your lungs out and shake your child back to reality, because the very thought of them going to an uncharted territory that is full of danger is unthinkable. However, good sense prevails and you let the moment pass. As you let the protective parent in you calm down, you gradually release the fear from your system. But it still continues to grip you tight and doesn’t let rationale take over. What should a parent of a child interested in an offbeat career do? For starters, take a deep breath and read on.

Avoid a knee-jerk reaction

The automatic reaction of a parent, when faced with a child who is interested in following an offbeat career choice is to react impulsively. And that’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. First and foremost, refrain from a knee-jerk reaction. Instead of disapproving their ideas at the outset and expressing shock or disdain, take time to hear them out. Your child needs your support at this crucial moment, and your response matters to them. They are already apprehensive about your reaction, hence, it is helpful to be calm while they talk about their offbeat career choice. Making a career decision is not an easy task, and your confidence in them can help them feel valued. Patience is key in such conversations to make sure that your child has the space to put their faith in you and bare their soul. This is the first step in how you can support your child’s offbeat career decision. 

Be a child yourself

Forget that you are a parent. Put yourself in a child’s shoes and remember the days when you would let your imagination run wild, when you were not bogged down by societal expectations, and simply followed your heart. Maybe, it is time to bring back that attitude. Ask yourself, is your fear being dictated by societal norms? Quite possibly, you would find your thoughts being weighed down by the expectations of others rather than your own. Shake those fears and embrace your inner child who is fearless, and see how confident it makes your own child feel in turn. 

Create a Plan B together

Your child has decided to be a wildlife photographer, and you are worried sick about how they will earn a living by spending time in the jungle! Time to take a deep breath and analyze the situation objectively. Chances are your concerns stem from insecurities associated with the career choice rather than your child’s capacity. Help your child work on a fall-back option by exploring a globally-recognized education in their field of interest, or a related field. In this way, chances of being successful in the offbeat career increase, and you can support your child’s offbeat career too. As a parent, you also need to conduct in-depth research in the field to clear your doubts and uncover possibilities. Join your child in exploring possibilities of their career by having an open discussion about its pros and cons. In this manner, you would be able to build an atmosphere of trust, and your child will feel more confident too. 

Make an informal deal 

An unconventional career choice may scare you as a parent. What if it doesn’t work out? Will it be lucrative enough? What are the avenues for growth- and more concerns may worry you. It is only natural to be concerned because you care for your child and you don’t want them to be disappointed later on. 

It is a good idea to strike an informal deal with your child. Give them a stipulated amount of time to try out the career path. Depending upon the time taken to pursue a related course, you may let them have a cool-off period of 4-5 years. If it works out, well and good, if it doesn’t, at least they would have tried walking on the path of their dreams. Whatever the time period is, just ensure that both parent and child come to a mutual agreement. 

Encourage internships

Today, new careers are emerging at a rate faster than ever before. They may sound exciting to your child, who may not be keen on following a traditional path. If you know that your child is interested in following an offbeat career, suggest they undertake internships or part-time jobs in the field. An internship is a great way to know if you are meant for a particular career and if you have what it takes. Internships help to build a profile and also help you understand the intricacies of the job. An internship will help the child to figure out if it matches their interests. It’s a win-win situation for both the parent and child, as it gives them time to explore. You can support your child’s offbeat career by providing them avenues to grow, and help them make realistic choices.  

Be a friend, but look for a mentor 

You want to be your child’s friend, and earnestly want them to open up about their innermost feelings. However, they may not be comfortable sharing their innermost feelings owing to many factors like being judged or scolded. Under such circumstances, children need someone who will listen to them without bias. As a parent of a child interested in an offbeat career, it is important to introduce your child to mentors who are experienced and capable of providing the advice they seek. Connect with an international career success coach at LaunchMyCareer who can enable your child to discover their strengths, work on their weaknesses, and identify their skills, aptitudes, and interests to navigate a successful career path. 

Being a parent isn’t easy, especially when children opt to walk the unbeaten path. Both you and your child may experience a gamut of emotions ranging from shock, anger, and fear to concern, helplessness, and disappointment. The best a parent can do is to acknowledge the emotions of their child and hear them out with an open mind. 

You may have a lot of expectations from your child, but you must avoid putting your dreams on them. A child is an individual in their own right, and their dreams can be entirely their own. They have every right to follow their dreams. With LaunchMyCareer, you can help your child create a realistic career path based on their personality characteristics to ensure a bright and successful future where they can make their dreams realistic.