How can I help my child prepare for the future?

Parents have the most significant impact on their children's career choices. In one recent study by Ferris State University, 78% of high school students said their parents were their most important source of career guidance. Are you prepared to give your children the guidance they seek and the advice they need?

Ten ways you can support your child's future
Use these ten strategies to help your children identify and reach their dreams.

Even though parents are the single most influential factor in the career development of their children, most parents are not adequately informed about how to help. Parents need to know how to use career information, how to assist in exploration, how to support development of interests and abilities, and how to challenge the stereotypes facing their children.

Explore the roles you may play, how your own career may impact those roles, and other topics below.

Parent roles
Some researchers refer to parents as a child's career coach. Just like coaches for athletes or artists, there is no single "right" way to do it. However, there are some fundamental principles that you as a parent, or the significant adult in a child's life, will want to adopt.

Your career story
Children observe and learn about work through the example of parents and other adult role models. Examine your own career development to prepare yourself to support your child's.

Good involvement
High parental involvement predicts positive attitudes toward school and the future, better grades, and better career decision-making skills. However, there are appropriate and inappropriate levels of involvement that can either help or hinder your children's journey.

Influences of family background
The background of your family - your cultural, racial, or ethnic heritage and your socioeconomic, educational, and occupational status - can impact your children's future. However, none of these affect their career and educational development as much as how your family functions on a day-to-day basis.

Gender differences
We love to debate the question: How are boys and girls different? We do know that some of the developmental issues for boys and girls in adolescence are unique to each gender. The messages we deliver can impact their educational and career choices.

Children with special needs
Each child is unique in his or her dreams, potential, and career path. Some children have physical, emotional, or cognitive differences that create barriers to learning or achievement. Parents are critical advocates for their children, and even more particularly so when there are special needs.

Gifted children
Students who are particularly talented or gifted also present unique career development challenges. Parents of these children are crucial interpreters in their education and career planning.