Here's how to survive your parents forcing their career choice on you - especially when they're paying your fees
So you're about to matriculate from high school and it will soon be time for the third leg of your education to kick in.
And you just can't wait to start finally taking those drama lessons or those art classes you've been fantasising about since you put on your first tutu or held your first crayon. That is until you mention it to your dad who is a lawyer and just not having it.
"No daughter of mine is going to be an "artist" is that even an actual job?" he asks, and you're left with whatever was left of your dream and a bitter taste in your mouth from the angry words you were forced to swallow.
You might've even pleaded with your mom with the hopes that she can change your dad's mind but there's just no luck because they're only thinking about your future.
Essentially this means you just have to live with your parents decision for you to become an accountant even though you hate Maths and the only thing you like counting is your allowance money.
You could always rebel but, who'll pay for this radio broadcasting course or that culinary school?
Another option is simply agreeing with your parents and studying to become a doctor even though you weren't the slightest bit interested in life science.
But that isn't always the greatest thing you can do for yourself or your parents.
The proof is in Lee's story, a beauty enthusiast who was forced into studying HR by her well-intentioned yet overbearing single mother.
Read Lee's story below.
"I've always loved all things fashion and beauty. My favourite people in the world are celebs like Kim Kardashian and Bonang Matheba. Over the years while I was in high school, I developed a keen eye for fashion trends and also began teaching myself beautiful makeup skills. During my matric year, I was excited for my future, because I was determined to end up in the media industry. Little did I know, my mother had other plans.
And they were nowhere close to fashion or beauty.
My mom is a single mother and I am her eldest of three daughters. She's always been very strict, so this is something I became used to growing up with her.
Nothing could prepare me for the lecture she gave me when I told her I wanted to take a course in media studies though. She couldn't believe with the "one opportunity" I had to go and study, I'd choose something as "silly" as media studies.
I couldn't believe she devalued my dream, and so I begged although nothing could sway her.
After I matriculated I found myself reluctantly applying for a degree in HR, my mom's very own choice, because according to her I'd have many job opportunities and a "decent" salary. And so there I was stuck studying something that I had absolutely no interest in, and each time I'd get my results, my unhappiness would reflect in my poor marks.
My mom was not happy and neither was I. While I wasn't intentionally failing, I was just genuinely uninterested. Any free time I had, I would use to watch beauty tutorials or fashion shows. As a result what was meant to be a three-year course ended up taking four and my mom had to fork out a whole extra year of uni fees, books and everything else I needed.
Soon after I graduated I found a job in HR and still currently work there. My mom was right, the salary is pretty decent, however, I am terribly unhappy. The job bores me to death and I feel like I'm stuck. I can't help but wonder where I'd have been if I was allowed to follow my dreams..."
While most parents usually have the best intentions when it comes to important decisions regarding their children, sometimes these choices have detrimental consequences such as the children becoming depressed, despondent or developing feelings of resentment toward their parents.
I spoke to Doctor David Wilson, a relationship expert and family psychologist, and he shared his insight on parents who want control their children's futures by choosing a career for them. He also shared some advice for young adults who find themselves in a similar position.
"This is a very common predicament many young adults find themselves facing and can lead to a lot of tension in a household. The problem becomes bigger when neither of the parties involved are willing to compromise.
While it is a parent's natural instinct to protect their child by choosing their career path because of the generational gap between a parent and their child, a parent is not always up to date with all the employment trends.
Which is why certain careers like becoming a writer or a musician or an artist still seem like poor choices to them. For example many years ago if I had told my dad I wanted to be an "influencer" he would not have entertained it.
Today being an influencer is more lucrative then being a teacher!
Instead of arguing back and forth, parents and their child/children need to sit down and have an actual conversation.
As a young adult who is looking into following his/her own passion, I suggest, you do as much research on the career path you are interested in. This way you can explain it in detail to your parents to allow them to get a better understanding of it.
Make them see how this could work for you.
Another mistake you should avoid making, is choosing a career path just to go against your parents' wishes. Think about your choice thoroughly, why do you want to do whatever it is you want to do? Can you see yourself working in that career happily for a long time?
Naturally your parents might become angry and refuse to fund your career choice.
Ask yourself, are you passionate enough about it to work hard to fund it yourself? If you're prepared to spend your own money pursuing it, your parents might see your enthusiasm and decide to support you after all.
At the end of the day the best advice I can give to a young adult is to follow their dreams
This does not mean cutting ties with your family. It just means politely saying no and finding a way to get your own ball rolling.
My advice to parents is for them to step back and allow their children to make their own mistakes and find their own way while offering support and guidance that is neither invasive or forceful.
This way your child learns valuable lessons and moves more carefully in future."
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