Our parents become the first role models we have in our life. We grow up looking at them and following their footsteps. You might have other members of your family whom you look up to, but the position of your parents never change. 

Choosing a career is one of the most incremental decisions of our life. Career is also often one of the family decisions. It is our parents’ firm belief that whatever they suggest is the best for us. But often these things lead to blockages in the relationship that we have with our parents. As we grow up, our choices and interests often clash with those that our parents want. 

There are various movies and books highlighting this situation and as to why parents have an unshakeable preference for certain career choices. Some of those reasons are: 

  • According to them, they want their children to be financially stable, which is possible only if the children pursue certain careers such as engineering, management, etc. 
  • Earlier the focus was more on earning one’s bread and butter rather than following one’s passion, so most parents still have an inclination towards this mindset. This is particularly true for boys. Sometimes our parents do not seem to realize that times have changed now. 
  • Parents exhibit a fear that unconventional career choices might not be fruitful and successful. 

Differences are bound to form, opinions will be there. Since our parents have lived for much longer than us and have more experiences, they do have a vast knowledge of everything, and definitely more than we do. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t follow your passion. The following are 4 ways you can do to persuade your parents and also manage their expectations of your career choices. 

1. Have a healthy and open communication with your parents 

Having healthy and open communication is the key to handling parental expectations. No matter what, try to develop a habit of speaking to your parents regarding your choices, interests, career goals, skills, any internships or part-time jobs you are considering, etc. This helps in letting your parents know more about you and your career choices. You can also show your parents what people from a particular career are doing or showcase their achievements. So it’s imperative to keep on having healthy discussions. You can even tell them about your dislikes or any problems that you face in dealing with particular subjects. 

2. Work towards your own career plan 

If you are planning to follow a career that is not particularly liked by your parents, make them believe that you are fit for it by working hard towards your goal. Let me give you my example. I always wanted to pursue humanities and almost all of my family members pursued science. So naturally, my parents were not quite willing with my choice of subject, but I scored well, wrote good essays on History and Political Science and even my teachers recommended humanities to my parents during the parent-teacher meeting. 

So this way, I made sure that my parents were convinced of my choice of subject. 

  • Explore more about the career choice by looking at colleges and universities that teach the course. 
  • Look for part-time jobs or volunteering in the same domain. 
  • Write articles or participate in competitions related to that particular domain in school. For example, if you want to pursue commerce, go for business plan competitions. 
  • Ask your parents and relatives if they know anyone from the career choice you are interested in. Talk to them and get to know everything about it. 
  • Read blogs and articles on how people from this stream are feeling about the career and what are they doing in it. 
  • Show your parents that you are making an informed choice, and not just merely deciding on gut-instinct.

3. Respect each other’s choices and opinions

Always remember to respect your parents’ choices and opinions. We still live in a society that does not give us all the freedom to choose our own careers. We have to be considerate of our parent’s will as well. So it’s better to follow your passion as well as respect their viewpoints as well. One of my friends had a great passion for dance. But she couldn’t pursue it full time owing to her parents’ will. Her parents wanted her to have a proper job. So now she does her job on 5 days of the week and on weekends follows her passion. This is all about having a balance in your career choices.  

4. Be ready to compromise, don’t become too adamant 

It might be possible that sometimes we are not able to choose our career choices as easy as possible. Our parents just don’t let us pursue what we want. In those times, I know you will feel like a rebel but it’s important that you don’t do something harmful for yourself and others. Don’t be adamant, it’s important to compromise. And after all, if you really have that drive and passion in you, nothing can really stop you from doing it. And believe me, there are possibly a hundred ways of pursuing a career, without having a degree in it. So even if you need to compromise, make contact with people who are doing the career you are interested in and follow their advice of pursuing it as a side hustle. 

  • Make use of internships or online courses and understand the nuances of the concerned field. 
  • Do what your parents are saying but tell them clearly that you will pursue your interests as well. 

I hope these tips will be beneficial for handling parental expectations in case there are any clashes in the career choice. Above all never compare yourself to anyone, do what your heart says, and follow it passionately. If you prove your willingness towards the goal, I’m sure your parents will let you follow it.  

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