Child psychologists will tell parents to never pressure a child into any particular career or life choice because it affects them negatively later in life. Few parents nowadays dream of overtly pushing their children onto a certain career path, but many still dream of their children becoming doctors, lawyers, and engineers. While it is futile to think that our children will follow exactly what we lay out for them, there are certain sneaky things you can do to influence your children in a certain way.
Play Dress Up
When your children ask you to come play with them, don’t brush them off. Instead, dress up with them and play make believe games. As you are doing so, try to steer them towards dressing up as real life figures that you would like them to emulate in the future. When the image is a familiar one, children take comfort in it. While there is no guarantee that children who dress up as doctors when younger will one day choose the medical profession, it is likely that they will feel an affinity to it more than to another profession. If you would like your son or daughter to end up as a pilot, take them shopping in a flight helmet store and then play at planes at home. Activate their imaginations.
Read Bedtime Stories
Not only will bedtime stories lead children to become readers on their own, it is also an excellent way to steer the literary tastes of children. Find books that are more than princes slaying dragons and princesses getting rescued. Look for real life stories of heroic children who have saved lives or made a difference in their communities. There are plenty of books out there written in simple language that are suitable for parents to read to children. Enflame a child’s imagination by reading adventure stories and making different career paths sound exciting. It is much easier to influence a child when they are young and impressionable than when they have experienced life later.
Live the Life
One of the best ways to send your child down the path to greatness is to live that greatness yourself. Case in point: you may be a middle class, single income family that is struggling to pay the bills and make sure the children appear ‘decent.’ Show your children that you work hard, that you enjoy life equally, and that you take risks for the future too. When you live the advice you give and you are a living example of all the platitudes you mouth, there is a better chance that your children will follow in your footsteps and (hopefully) end up with prestigious jobs. Children who become disillusioned with the false promises of their parents are the ones most likely to go into ‘alternative’ careers, and value job satisfaction over pay.