Blog 20

How To Bridge The Generation Gap In Setting Career Goals?

Do you sense a generation gap as a parent of a teen?

Does your teen want to take career and life decisions that are different from yours? How do you know if this is a thought through decision, a lack of maturity, or a deeper generation gap?

Do you sometimes wonder, “Where did your doting teen suddenly disappear and develop opinions so contrary to your own?” When and where did this gap start? ☹

As parents, we try to motivate, nurture, and mould our teens into good human beings. We also try to instil a set of values that seemed to work as our success template for our lives and careers. This for majority of us is the template for good parenting.

With some variation, I have found this to be the parent checklist:

·      Study hard, academics are very important. Especially Maths and Sciences.

·      Compete and try to be number 1 in your class.

·      Money and visible materialism are the real measures of success.

·      Every minute of your day should be productive, have a clear structure for every single day.

·      You need to excel in academics and extra curriculars.

·      Go get as many trophies and certificates as you can.

The list continues….

I hear many teens exclaim with a subtle or enhanced exasperation regarding the generation gap in our parenting checklist. They don’t find sense in the success metric handed over by their parents for their career or life. They could often benefit from career clarity counselling to ground their career and life goals in a realistic way.

Perhaps, this is a fortunate situation even though it causes temporary pain. Perhaps, in this generation gap is the seed for cultural and social transformation.

In my work, I have had the good fortune of meeting teens and parents who willingly work to align on life and career goals. 😊

I often observe that teens are often inherently working towards a different success metric. This causes the generation gap, career confusion and conflicts at home.

I hear teens often exclaim, “my parents are doing well, but they don’t look happy, they have no time to enjoy their life.” Parents may misinterpret this as laziness or a laid-back attitude. In some cases, this may be right, in some there may be more to understand and analyze. The journey to analyze, understand and align is the process of career clarity counselling and reducing the generation gap!

Let’s look at a few cases.

A boy of 14 years reads History voraciously.

His mother is worried. She feels History won’t help him earn a good living. She tries to maneuver him into architecture as monuments are also historical heritage and hence architecture she exclaims!!

The boy cannot say “no” and buries himself in games to escape the situation. Soon the mother was looking for a psychologist specializing in internet de-addiction. She exclaims that as parents they have provided so much that the child does not value the money and hard work anymore. He wants to while away his time reading history and playing games!

A girl of 15 years, a national level player trying to compete internationally in grade X.

She is keen to pursue humanities, design in her grades XI and XII and excel in her sport. Her parents were very supportive of her sporting talent. She is the trophy child of the house.

However, for senior school they are keen on sciences and engineering. They enroll her in Physics and Maths coaching classes, tutorials etc. Every day she feels forced to doing something she is not good at and despises.

A few months later, she is burning out and demotivated. She is unable to keep pace with the coaching for sports and coaching for sciences and Maths.

She started to show behavioral issues and challenges in grade XI. Her parents considered enrolling her in a hostel as they felt this would discipline her. The story becomes grimmer.

Note: These are real stories, not creative anecdotes. Career clarity counselling is about addressing these issues in detail.

And while this prophetic advice has always been with us, it is difficult to implement and live it in our lives. So, how do we implement the advice of giving them our love, but not our thoughts? How do we help their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which we cannot even visit in our dreams?

The first step lies in accepting our role and knowing that what worked for us, is not the measure or pathway of their life. If we know that and we truly believe that love grows, the generation gap diminishes.

How do you know if you have embarked on a journey of acceptance? How do you know you are working to reduce the generation gap?

Sharing below some key questions that will help you as parents in your journey:

Simply put, engage in more of the suggestions stated in green. Stop those written in red. Reflect on the questions in orange to grow yourself as a person.

Being a parent is a joyful experience. However, most teens and parents clash as described in the infamous generation gap.

It is possible to reduce the generation gap, it is possible to align. It is also possible to grow as a family and society through this generation gap. As parents, you need to take the first step.

Career clarity counselling is about helping your teen and you gain deeper understanding and awareness. It about reducing this generation gap and saving tears over years!

Best wishes as you reflect and grow.

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