Let Them Get Set Go
January , 2019

“I hate Biology but I am doing my Masters in the subject just because both my parents did their doctorate in it and had a flourishing career as research scholars” says 21 year-old Aung with a tone of sadness in her voice. Similarly, 19-year-old Thinzar enrolled himself in University of Paramedical Science in Yangon while he was very much interested in studying History and English. The reason was that his father wanted him study Physiotherapy because it is a much needed and a well-paid profession today.

There’s no denying the fact that parents are the best well-wisher of their children. They can go to any extent to see their child happy and successful. But when parents force their children to study what they think is right for them or when they impose their own choice on their children, then its effects could be damaging. New York based psychotherapist Dr. C. Michael says, “Few students who enter college have a real grasp on the wide variety of careers available today. College can be a place for them to begin to find their special niche, not merely join a group of supposed doctors- and lawyers-to-be”. Most studies done on children choosing their own career path reveal that the children who choose a career according to the wishes of their parents, they will have a boring academic life as they would face a lack of interest. College life is the best phase of a student’s life. To enjoy this phase and make it more interesting, a child should choose his/her own career path.

It is a fact that parents can be an important and positive influence in decisions affecting a young person’s vocational development. But over-involvement in the decision- making process can undermine parental effects as a positive source of influence. Excessive parental control regarding adolescents’ occupational decision-making results in negative outcomes. Shannon Reed who is a former high school English teacher in Ohio says, “While parental involvement helps build children’s own confidence and abilities, over-parenting appears to do the converse in creating a sense that one cannot accomplish things on one’s own.” Yangon-based entrepreneur Nang Lang says, “I am lucky and happy that I studied the field that I liked. Though my parents weren’t quite ready for it but I insisted because that’s what interested me.” Experts agree that trying to manipulate children in their decisions about life after school can be fraught with conflict. Not every child, on becoming an adult, is happy with the pressure felt as a consequence of his parents’ expectations. So, how hard should parents push their children when it comes to their future? Educationalists, teachers and psychologists say that parents should guard against shooting down ideas their children may have about their future careers. Confidence is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child. Reacting negatively could shut down the whole exploration process. Parents need to keep the lines of communication open, and encourage their child to gather as much information as possible on their career interest areas. A parent’s role is to act as a facilitator in their child’s career journey and allow independent career choices.

Parents could be accused of coercing