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  • Writer's pictureΔεσπω Κυρμιτση

The role of parents and their relationship with children

Most parents consider that one of their most important tasks is to help their children plan and implement their careers. Parents not only influence their children's educational and career aspirations but also seem to play an important role in their career planning and decision-making. In addition, secondary school students consider their parents to be very important factors in shaping their career planning.

Parents have direct control over the environment in which their children are raised, so they can expose them to experiences designed to aid their professional development process.

Although parents consider this task important, they do not always feel confident that they have the knowledge and ability to help their children make career decisions. The complexity and constant changes of the modern employment structure make it difficult for most parents to be their children's primary career mentors. Still others feel that their knowledge of career opportunities is outdated.

Various such attitudes and thoughts cause an uncertainty in parents as to whether they should not participate in their children's decisions or whether they should put pressure on the children for certain decisions. These situations are exacerbated when there are economic restructurings and changes in the structure of employment, as is the case today.

Another issue that affects the role parents play in their children's career development is related to the shape of the modern family. Most parents, for example, those who are "heads" of single-parent families feel unable to provide career guidance or other similar forms of assistance to their children, some even due to financial and personal stress do not have the mental energy to do so. Also, many parents do not know how they can effectively help their child's development and often need confirmation from counselors that they can contribute to this task. They also need advice and support on what form their contribution should take.

The effects of parents on their children's work values, aspirations and performance can also be indirect. For example, parents who do not have enough education or financial security are not very likely to provide their children with information about post-secondary educational opportunities or help with their future choices. Many of these children seem to take the easier educational paths and make immature educational and career choices or drop out of school.

Parents' aspirations for their children can influence how a young person sees the world and professions in particular. Parental pressures that push a disabled child into high-demand academic areas are just as harmful as those that encourage high-achieving children to leave school and enter the workforce as soon as possible. Similarly, parents' attitudes toward various occupational fields may influence children's views of those fields. This is especially true in the case of stereotypical perceptions that certain occupations are 'male' or 'female'.

Despo Kyrmitsi, BSc, MA Career and Vocational Guidance Consultant


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