Stressed businessman feeling sad while his female boss is scolding him at work.
  • Be cool. Not knowing is normal

It is hard not to worry that they will never leave home. But 50% of school leavers aren’t sure what they want to do with their life! So stay cool. Baby steps are good. Starting something is a great start. It might be the first career or study option that they cross off the list but at least they know for sure it is not for them and they can move on to the next thing.

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff

Our school leavers have just achieved something amazing! 13 years of schooling is no small feat. The rite of passage that finishing means for adulthood is full of BIG feelings. So as the grown-up in the relationship, don’t sweat the small stuff and celebrate the wins, no matter how small.

  • Aim for conversations, not lectures

Gosh, it is easy to slide into pushing for a definitive answer or even direction. And they offer us so many opportunities to use as teaching moments!  But the best outcomes come from two-way communication. If you sense the glass partition coming up, back off and look for another moment to change tact in the discussion.

  • Get help. The school leavers toolkit offers free services

We as parents don’t need to have all the answers! But we do need to be able to recognise when our kids need help. There are plenty of services out there to help. Starting at your child’s school is a great place to start. Googling the school leavers toolkit is too.

  • Know what you’re talking about

It is hard to hear but things have changed since we left school! Staying up to date with the latest career, work and training information is difficult. And you shouldn’t be made to feel bad if you haven’t kept up to date with the latest employment trends. The main point to remember here is that you don’t need to source the volume of information required to complete a PhD. Just listen to what your kid wants and then start your research options from there.

  • Explore together

Yes, this is their journey but we don’t put kids straight into cars unsupervised for a reason! Your child probably doesn’t want you to show up to their work experience with them but they won’t mind you going to the careers night. They do want to hear about opportunities that they may have not known about. They will glance at the webpage you have left open!

  • Have an open mind

Parenting by its very nature means we have our own hopes and dreams for our children wound up in everything we do for them. But that doesn’t mean our hopes and dreams cancel out theirs. If this is something you are struggling with in your household right now we would suggest downloading our Values Card Activity. Comparing and contrasting your and your child’s values might find you some common ground to continue the discussion about the future.

  • Recognise career paths from their casual work

Your child might not have a study plan sorted but has shown a diligent work ethic through their casual job. Sometimes the education system makes us believe that to be successful in life you need to have been a gun student. This isn’t the case. Recognising your child’s commitment to working whilst studying at school is important and meaningful too.

  • Check your own bias and worries

Even if you are worried about your child’s future you should do some thinking about why you feel that way… Is it because they may not meet the benchmarks you have set or the ones they have set? We carry so many unconscious thoughts and feeling from our past and our families. It is important to check our worries sometimes. Are they valid or where do they come from? The genogram activity (careers family tree) on the resources of this website is a great tool to help with sorting these ideas and feelings.

  • Know there is more than one way to skin a cat!

Careers are no longer linear (if they ever were?) There is no expectation that your child will work in just one career. So the important thing is that they get started. The what doesn’t matter too much because there are plenty of opportunities along the way to change direction or re-train or learn a new skill. So in terms of your job as a parent you can relax a little knowing that there are so many ways for them to get to their final destination.

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