A Parent and Teacher's Guide to Family Involvement for High School Students

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Career Exploration is a challenging transition from childhood to adulthood. Young people want to be treated as adults who have a sense of purpose and direction in life (Strom et. al., 2014). Students are seeking to find their place in the greater society and need help from family for direction. Reflecting back to the expectations of the early 1950's, little was required to become a well established, participating member in the community. A high school diploma or trade school would be sufficient in preparing young people for the realities of society. Young women were expected to enfranchise the traditional house wife role and care for their husband. Much has changed since then, a high school degree is key to any type of work and higher education or trade school is required to become well established members of a community (Strom et. al, 2014).

The family is essential in helping craft a young child's future. In the Parent's Roles section of this website, you will read some best practices for parents to influence their student. "Parents can influence self-concept, belief and goals by telling their children they are smart and that they should go to college, which indirectly affects their child's career decisions" (Ing, 2014, pp. 89). In fact Strom et. al (2014) found that 78% identified relatives as the source they prefer to talk with about career planning. This means that parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, and other family members play a significant role in determining the future of student success. Parents should have high expectations for their students when their student is considering career choices. Even if current family members are not as successful, students will meet or exceed their families expectations.

Parents who struggle to understand the career readiness process can prepare themselves by attending community supported information sessions to keep informed on the current process. They should also prepare their students for significant, challenging decisions when considering their future goals. The table below (quoted from Strom et al., 2014) presents some questions family members can ask their student as they prepare for post-high school plans. There are no per-requisites to asking your student these types of questions.

Questions for discussion
How long does it take to prepare for this occupation?
Time and money are important factors.
What are my reasons for wanting this position?
Personal motivation should be clear.
Does this career provide opportunities for advancement?
Explore the possibilities of promotion.
Am I aware of stresses that are related to this career?
Think about necessary adjustments.
How can this career have an impact on my happiness?
Discuss with people in this career.

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