Can Parents Influence Their Child's Career Choice?


career Parents often wonder and worry about what their kids will do when they grow up. After all those years of investing into their son or daughters’ formal and informal education, parents hope that their child launches into a successful career. As with other areas of their development, parents are in a unique position in terms of knowing their child and being able to guide and mentor them. But does a parent’s advice and encouragement have an impact in terms of the areas of specialization kids end up choosing in post-secondary school?

Professor Jon Miller and his collegues at Michigan State University recently published a study that looked very specifically at this question. These researchers looked at data from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth that followed almost 6000 students from junior high through to post-secondary school. Their main interest was to look at what influences kids to pursue so-called STEMM careers, that is, careers in science, technology, engineering, medicine and mathematics. The data revealed that if parents had not encouraged their kids to attend post-secondary school, there was only a 4% chance that kids would end up pursuing a STEMM career in college. In contrast, 41% of students choose to pursue a STEMM career when parental encouragement was cited.

Ideally, parents want to be closely in tune with the direction their son or daughter is headed toward.  The research shows that parental guidance and encouragement can help guide the educational and career choices kids make.

You can read more about Miller's research here.

Vote for The Family Anatomy Podcast at Podcast Alley and for the blog at Blogger’s Choice!

Note: Posts on Family Anatomy are for education only, and are not intended to replace professional or medical advice. If you need to talk to someone about family or mental health issues, you can get a referral from your family doctor.