Yes, teenagers do listen to their parents!
A recent survey, conducted by the Ferris State University Career Institute for Education and Workforce Development, reported that 78% of teens surveyed said one, or both parents were primarily responsible for helping them plan for a career.
Debunk the stereotypes. Remind all young people that most men and women will work for pay, for most of their lives. Every individual needs to be prepared to support him or herself. Nontraditional occupations provide more income for females and often provide a healthier, more flexible and satisfying lifestyle for males.
Actively seek services in your community that are provided by a nontraditional worker. When possible, consider services from a woman computer technician, a male social worker, a female carpenter or a male nurse.
Help young people get beyond “gross”. Insist calmly that girls can catch an annoying bug, unplug a drain and get their hands dirty putting oil in a car. Boys can help change a diaper, or clean a toilet. This is all part of discovering the world around them.
Identify family members who have skills that relate to nontraditional occupations. Share family history and traits. Many family members have aptitudes that adapt to today’s challenging and skilled workplace in nontraditional fields. Some examples of these skills/current workplace skills are farming/earth science, housekeeping/management, cooking/processing.
Praise young men and women for their skills and successes, not only for their appearances or popularity. Say “You did a terrific job.” , instead of “You looked great today.”
Teach young people to use a critical eye when watching TV, movies and advertisements. Discuss what you’ve seen together. Look for strong, smart, capable men and women who are not limited to traditional roles.
Use the media to start a discussion about body image. Consider how girls and women, boys and men are portrayed in the media. Are heavier girls shown as unpopular? Are caring tender males shown as “wimps”?
Give girls more opportunities to be leaders. Let them choose the activity, make the rules, settle a dispute. A girl who has learned to lead is better prepared to take charge of her own education, training and career.
Encourage your student, if he or she is excited about majoring in nontraditional areas. These can be excellent choices, particularly if they are a good match for a student’s interests and skills.
Give boys more opportunities to be mediators and to be artistic, caring and supportive. Let them resolve disagreements. Make sure they include girls in discussions. A boy who can negotiate and consider others will be better able to parent and to lead.
Support exploration of new areas of study and interests. This is what education is all about!
Encourage young people to have, opportunities to experience science, math and technology. All young people are ready, willing and eager to explore, but they often haven’t had enough exposure or encouragement. For example, even very young girls can put objects in water to see if they float or sink, attempt simple household fix-it activities, or understand how machinery works. Boys can also do household chores, care for someone in need, or care for a pet.