I probably shouldn’t be shocked any more when I meet a promising young person who’s majoring in some vague or extremely niche-type field that lacks the slightest hint of a living-wage-earning salary in view. I certainly don’t blame the teen or twenty-something individual for such, but I absolutely wonder what their parents are thinking.
Parenting Teens Through Major Choices
Why do I wonder about the parents of these young people? After all, post high school, most young people are legally adults. However, exercising full adult freedom means taking on full responsibility.
Usually, those majoring in fields like Violin Performance or Eastern Philosophy don’t care too much about all the tuition money going toward a hobby or a trendy ideology, because their parents are footing the bill. On the flip side, of course, there are those parents who force their kids to major in a particular subject based on family expectations or top earning potential; for the record, I’m not advocating that approach, either.
What I would like to encourage is simple: Parenting your teen through making major life decisions. Since Psalms compares parenting to masterfully aiming arrows (Psalm 127:4), providing this kind of guidance seems to make sense. How do you do that? Well, I’m glad you asked. It just so happens I have some suggestions on how to get started.
Asking Your Teen Hard Questions
I’m talking about the kinds of questions that everyone else will be asking them, like, “What do you plan to do with that major,” or “What kind of career would that prepare you for?” While your neighbor’s cousin might not have the right to ask such a seemingly intrusive question, as your child’s guardian, you certainly do.
Ask them about their life goals, too, and the kind of lifestyle they’d like to lead. Ask them if they want “bankers’ hours” or flexibility. Find out how many years they plan to spend in the world of higher education and what that will cost—not just financially but in the way of delaying marriage and family life or facing the difficulties of trying to do it all.
Helping Your Teen Find the Answers
As your teen comes up with various career possibilities, you can make it a family project to find out exactly what that job looks like—what it pays, the training required, and the current outlook for that field. If it would require a person to regularly work weekends and evenings or unusual shifts, discuss the impact that kind of schedule can have. If the pay is particularly low, you can help them understand what that looks like in real life by working out a prospective budget.
Sometimes the job may look attractive, but openings are only available in certain parts of the country or the world. If your son or daughter has no desire to leave your county, understanding those kinds of things can be significant.
As you aim your arrow during this last stage of active parenting, you can help your teen go far in life.