Helping Older Foster Children Gain Job Skills
Parenting older children is difficult. During adolescence, teenagers’ brains struggle to self-regulate as they experience greater highs and deeper lows. At the same time, your child faces more environmental stress as they make major life decisions while moving through periods of great physical change.
Helping your teenager regain a sense of control during this stressful period is important. One way to help them navigate this combination of hormonal fluctuation and environmental stress is to plan for the future by developing job skills.
However, talking about jobs with your child can be frustrating. As parents, the best way to move through this frustration is to be positive and proactive. Research shows that positive interactions between parents and children will improve your child’s overall competence and lead to better outcomes for you both. As such, it is vital that you listen to your older child, and try to offer gentle guidance.
Here are a few positive ways you can help your child gain essential job skills without stressing them out.
Build a Great Resume
Before your child can start applying for jobs, they need to create a great resume. However, the first resume is always the most difficult. Your child likely has little or no work experience and will find the idea of selling themselves awkward. That’s where gentle parenting and resume writing experts come in.
First, remember that employers don’t expect young applicants to have much work experience. Instead, focus on points that help your child stand out from other children. For example, have they given presentations at school? Did they feature on a sports team of any kind? Have they played an instrument in front of an audience? If they do have any unique experiences, be sure to use a template that foregrounds them.
Resumes are typically one or two pages in length. However, filling two whole pages may be a struggle for some older children. If your child’s resume looks a little empty, select a new template that will fit their experience. If you get stuck, consider adding sections like “skills”, “interests”, or “hobbies”.
Autonomy and Choice
You must give your child the autonomy they need. As adults with professional careers, it can be tempting to take over. Instead, allow your child to drive the decision-making process, and try to give helpful feedback without being overbearing. Of course, that’s easier said than done. So, if you know that you’re likely to take over, consider the following tips:
Present Your Child With Options
By presenting your child with options, you can gently introduce career paths that you think might suit them. For example, if your child gets on well with their peers, they might enjoy a career in HR, where they could become a Human Resources Specialist. If they prefer to work alone, then a career in software engineering might be perfect for them. By presenting your child with these options—rather than prescribing career paths to them—they’ll discover a career path that suits them best and will be motivated to succeed.
Think Traits, Not Careers
Job markets are always changing. Industries with great job prospects today may be over-saturated in 10 years. Additionally, only 27% of all college graduates go on to have careers related to their major. This ever-changing job landscape means that it is best to think in terms of traits instead of potential careers. For example, if your child struggles to voice their opinion, you can guide them towards public speaking programs or drama clubs. If your child is commanding and overwhelming with their peers, then perhaps a sport that requires teamwork will help them value others. No one knows which skills will be in demand in the future, but helping your child become well-rounded will always serve them well.
Helping Your Child Grow
By giving your child gentle guidance, you can help them regain a sense of control that sets them up for future success. You might also find that they can handle more responsibility, as many older children crave the ability to determine their own path in life. Regardless of your child’s future career, taking positive steps now will relax your child and give them an authentic sense of autonomy.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to child development, health and wellness, mindfulness, and productivity. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn