When a Parent Pushes a Career on Their Kid

24 Jan

In the past few days, I have been talking to people who seem to think it is the a good thing for a parent to push a child into a career choice that is not necessarily preferred by the kid, but by the parent.

You know those parents…the ones that want their kids to be a top lawyer or top doctor.  They will do anything to make that happen and they really believe that they are doing it for the benefit of the child.  After all, the child does not have the experience in life to really understand what he/she wants to do with it.  What is a parent there for if not to guide the child in the right direction?

I get the argument, but my question is….What if the parent is wrong?  What if the kid ends up being miserable as a top physician or hates being a lawyer.  You might say that nobody likes their job, but being a professional carries security, prestige and respect – and not many other career paths can offer all three vital components….and, besides, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger….

As an adult who has experienced how tough life can be between romance, parenthood, unwanted vices, personal appearance, social issues and many others life issues that I cannot think of off the top of my head….why would it be necessary to add career to that list?

You might say that the security, prestige and respect that comes with that career will eliminate most of life’s tough issues….but would that be true?

Have you never heard of an unhappy lawyer?  There never existed in the history of mankind a depressed doctor?  I know this might sound like a stupid argument, but I am hard pressed to find a smart argument for pushing your kids into your career choice.

We all want the best for our kids, this I don’t deny. However, sometimes what we think is the best for our kids -simply is not.  We would not know that until its too late though.

My grandmother was a survivor of the Holocaust and was one of these parents.  My mother did not listen to her “guidance” and left home early and eloped with my father.  But, my uncle was not so lucky.  He wanted to make my grandmother proud so he his passed the CPA exam and worked hard to climb the ladder of success to pretty much the top and stayed there until……my grandmother died.

In case he ever reads this, I don’t want to talk about the downside of making choices based on the approval of others – especially your parents, as opposed to following your heart for yourself…but let’s just say that he is not on top of the social ladder anymore.

Yes, it may be scary to leave the choices up to your just barely young adult, but there is a time in all of our lives that we have to learn responsibility for ourselves.  We all have to learn how to make our own choices and pay consequences for our mistakes as well as take pride in our own achievements.  At some point we have to cut the umbilical cord.

We also have to really think about why we want what we want for our children.  We must ask ourselves a very important question; do we want them to do what we say for their benefit…..or for ours?

After all, there is a pride that comes with saying “meet my son…… the brain surgeon”.

Other posts you might like:

You are Perfect – No Approval Necessary

Paycheck or Self Respect – I’ll Take Self Respect

Being Richter Does Not Mean That You Are Smarter

Reality Television – My Guilty Pleasure

Greed…The Deadliest Sin of Them All

Why is Life Unfair?

Life is full of controversy so here is a thought to live by:
Why is life unfair?
Because there’s never going to be a system that is fair to everyone.
Shannon Miller

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4 responses to “When a Parent Pushes a Career on Their Kid

  1. wetherholt salon and spa

    January 24, 2012 at 12:36 am

    Excellent and well said! I have a 15 year old daughter and I remind myself daily that it is her life to live and not for me to derive ego from.

    • Peaceful Controversy

      January 24, 2012 at 12:39 am

      Amen…though, I agree, we have to remind ourselves because we all want the best for our children!

  2. mamaji

    February 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    The extremely high expectations placed on young people by parents in these situations makes life extremely stressful. Not only do they have to deal with the difficult demands of such high flying careers, and meet the expectations of the public, leading continuous professional lives from a young age, they have to avoid meeting the dissaproval of their family, which by far is the most heart wrenching. Professional life is just that, professional. Having high demands of professionalism from your personal life is a recipe for disaster.

    • Peaceful Controversy

      February 1, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      It is a shame that some parents don’t see it that way and instead they justify it by saying they are doing what is best for their kid.


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