Career Tips For Teens 5: When Your Parents Don’t Agree With You

Are you pursuing (or thinking about) a career that your parents do not support? Do your parents want you to enter a career that will lead to financial success, but you know it won’t make you happy? Parents usually want “the best” for their children, but how they perceive your future – and how you see your future – may be miles apart. Communicating with your parents and understanding your choices are important as you make life-changing decisions. Here are some tips for talking to your parents about your plans.

Sometimes reassuring them that you have researched work opportunities, understand the requirements necessary to be competitive, and are making concrete plans to gain experience in your field helps your parents understand that you are taking responsibility for your future.

Steps to communicating with your parents

Talk with your parents about their hopes for your future. How do your parents define success? What experiences have shaped their perspectives? What job characteristics are important to them? Then, share your own definition of success and define the qualities in a job that are important to you.

• What do your parents know about the work opportunities in your interest area? Tell them what you know about your potential opportunities based on your research. Consider taking assessments to further explore your interests and talents. Share your results with your parents. “Evidence” of your innate talents and interests may impress on them the importance of seeking work that fits with who you are.

Seek out mentors, people you know who may also have dealt with family pressures. How have they coped with these pressures? What advice do they have for you?

Even if your parents do not support your decisions, keep them informed of your plans. Secrecy is a big no-no at that this time. Let them know that you are networking, exploring training options, pursuing extracurricular activities, and creating a sound career-search strategy.

These simple tips should help you get started in finding common ground with your parents. Also, never forget that though it may not seem that way on the surface, they actually want the best for you. Yes, their methods sometimes just makes your blood boil, but hey, part of growing up is learning how to deal with these difficult situations and coming out a better person.

Thanks for sticking with me through this Career Series. Look out for other interesting series on Teens Lifestyle. Got a topic or question you’d love to see addressed here? Post it as a comment below or send an email to

Wishing you the very best in your career!


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