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Should parents play a role in deciding their child's future?

Parents know what's best for their children and usually help them to make good decisions for their future. From their infancy until their teenage years, or perhaps later, they are strongly influenced and guided by their parents. But should parents help determining the future? Should they allow their children to choose their own careers?

Seeking Opinion Education 3 years ago
Laura Celada admin
Laura Celada’s Editorial intern
London, GB

2 experts and 1 parent have answered

Олег Кияшко
Олег Кияшко Don't mind my display name >.< Kyiv, Ukraine


Often, parental intervention may affect the child's self-esteem. For example, Oscar Wilde's parents wanted to have a girl, and they were dressing him up in the female clothes while he was a boy. He was kinda against it. Enrico Caruso was totally embarassed when his singing teacher said him that he can't sing, but if it would be a parent who might think that singer job is not serious, he would even cry, weep and sob more intensively.

Not all parents are actually educated about the these days technological stuff. Some parents are even technophobic. Will you say that if a child can't watch TV or go to movies because his parents said so is fair? What is a reason when the parent says so?

Parental job is only care and responsibility, not control. Kids should be able to make their own decisions - they aren't just legally able to formalize them (i.e. voting). Forcing kids to obey is a totally tyranic, bad idea. We don't live in the Middle Ages, when the children from royal families were forced to hope only for being married by the parent's (kings, queens) decision. We are not kings, princes, counts, barons, viscounts etc. We're independent people and we should teach our kids how to be independent.

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Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Eric Sorenson expert
Eric Sorenson Director of Research & Content Toronto, CA
Early years professional expert

I'm in favour of a 'guide', not 'decide' approach. Should parents decide for their children? In my opinion, no. Should parents help to guide their children along a particular path? Sure.

Most importantly, foster your children's passions because you never know what they might achieve.

Listen to Sir Ken Robinson for some inspirational stories about how following your dreams can lead to great things and how the support of parents can help.

Sir Ken Robinson / School of Life:

Sir Ken Robinson / TED:

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Opinion 3 years ago
expert answer
Lorraine Allman expert
Lorraine Allman Author, Businesswoman, Mum GB
Careers expert

In replying to this I am reminded of my answer to a question a little while back about whether parents should take an active role in arranging work experience for their children.

My response that was that yes, they should take an active role in working with their child to discuss what their interests are, and helping to identify possible locations for work experience through networks, friends, or elsewhere. Likewise with this I think there is scope for working with your child to consider the various career options open to them, in fact I would say given how poor careers advice is these days it is essential we get clued up and support them as best we can.

I do believe that parents have a crucial role to play in developing entrepreneurial potential in their children from a young age but this does not involve taking over, rather simply noticing, nurturing, and providing a broad range of opportunities and experiences. Our role as parents is to empower our children and support them to make decisions that work for them not us. That's not always easy when we believe our child may be destined to be say a brilliant musician and then they decide to go off and work on a cruise liner for a year (no disrespect to cruise liner staff intended), but we have to trust that they will find their own path, their own way, and ultimately achieve their full potential, which includes of course being happy.

Children are of course influenced by their parents - we are their greatest role models, so we must be mindful of that - I have just answered a question here about how we can encourage more girls into STEM careers and of course role modelling plays a part in that - what we say, what we do, how we do it etc. By all means, encourage, nurture, give a little nudge, provide information, and constructively discuss decisions they are making, but most of all re-assure them that you will support them whatever career they decide upon.

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Opinion 3 years ago

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