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Alert Signs

Parents should guard against shooting down ideas their children may have about their future careers. If they react negatively, it may 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 must recognize that their role is simply to act as a facilitator in their child’s career jouey and allowing independent career choices marks a young persons first real step into adulthood.

Look out for the danger signs in your child's approach:

  • Waiting until the last minute to make decisions.
  • Unrealistic expectations.
  • Promises to work miracles with study next term.
  • Carrying too many higher -level subjects in spite of poor reports from teachers.
  • Lax approach to homework.
  • Interference from social activities or a weekend job which is funding their social life.
  • Selecting a course because the career is well paid. They are more likely to gain a good result in their degree if they enjoy and are interested in the course.

Things a parent can do to help:

  • Read up on the relevant courses on the website.  From an adult perspective you may have some questions that your child has overlooked.  
  • Make sure your son/daughter goes to some Open Days.  These are essential for students trying to come to terms with the vast array of colleges and courses. However an Open Day will be not be helpful if there has been no preparatory work beforehand. 
  • If possible introduce your son/daughter to someone currently doing the course/working in the career area.
  • Look at the list of proposed courses and find out if your son/daughter has researched each course thoroughly. Any course that has not been thoroughly researched should not be on the list.
  • Have the CAO choices been discussed with a Guidance Counsellor?
  • What is the backup plan if the predicted results do not happen?
  • If the school organises career talks for parents, make sure you are in attendance.
  • Be aware of the risks of failing a crucial higher- level paper such as English or Maths. An E on a higher -level paper will not be accepted whereas a D on a lower level paper may be acceptable.  
  • Attend Parent/Teacher meetings.
  • Remember parental advice is invaluable, but school leavers must make their own particular career choices.