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How to Teach a Child to Choose a Profession You Want for Him in the Future

Updated on February 9, 2013

Teach a child to become...

Some parents want their kids to become entreprenuers, doctors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, and many more. They expect their kids to pursue a certain career they want for their future. Others successfully fullfilled the dream of their parents while others choose different careers.

How about you? What do you want your kids to become? If you are one of these parents, I have a proven great way to get children to choose the profession you want for them in the future. I learned this from my father.

Mother and Child Poster at

Set up their mind

I remember when I was six years old, my father would embrace me and ask me in a very soft manner "What will you be when you grow up?" and I would answer, "Engineer." Everyday he asked me the same thing and I would just repeat my answer "Engineer".

My father did the same thing to my younger brother. Everyday he would ask my brother, "What will you be when you grow up?" and he would answer, "Attorney." After that, my father would ask him another question, "What will they call you?" My brother would answer "Attorney Cana" (Attorney + Surname)

My father only stopped asking the same question over and over again when me and my younger brother reached Junior High School. But even though he stopped asking the question, he had already set our minds to what we would become in the future.

Simple Steps

  1. Embrace your child and ask them a question with a very soft voice. "What will you be when you grow up?"
  2. Ask the question over and over again. Once a day is enough. Show them you are excited to hear their answer.
  3. You can stop asking this question when they are in high school. By that point in time you should know if you have been successful in guiding them to a future profession.

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Friendly Reminder

When choosing a profession for your child, it is your responsibility to choose a profession they are capable of.

What can you say about this?

Do you think parents should plan the future profession of their kids?

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Future career of your children

Should a parent choose the future profession of their kids?

They should decide for themselves!

They should decide for themselves!

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    • anonymous 5 years ago

      a parent's role is simply to guide their children on choosing what they want to be when they grow up. Sometimes when parents choose the profession of their kids, the children don't end up successful because they aren't happy with their profession.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      parents should not choose but instead guide their kids to make their own choices... i think that's the best way to plan their kids' future.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Too many parents try and live their lives through their kids, and don't think about what the kid really wants. Therefore I say, no, let your kids choose.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Parent should influence their kids through being good examples and teaching them values. Most of all teaching them how to formulate their life mission early in life so that they are able to decide confidently about their future profession.

    • Genesis Davies 5 years ago from Guatemala

      I don't think you should choose the profession for your child, though you can certainly give them ideas! In the end, though, it is important for the child to choose or he may not be happy in what you've selected. This leads to resentment and a breakdown in relationships.

    • Kay 5 years ago

      I think a parent should want their child to choose the career in which they'd be most happy and most suited.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      My husband's parents did this to him. He was miserable in 'their' chosen profession for over 40 years, and resents it to this day.

    • TheHowTo 5 years ago

      Maybe you can make your kids become something that is generally considered a respectful job but that doesn't mean they are happy with it.

    • bechand 5 years ago

      My parents made me believe that i could be anything I wanted to be - and that was the best thing they could ever do - I am trying the same with my kids.

    • gemjane 5 years ago

      There are many, many stories out there of people who are very unhappy in the career their parents chose for them. Sure, It is possible to go into a different profession if a person finds themselves in the wrong place, but very few of those people would think they had everything it takes to change to what they would dearly love to pursue. They may think they are now too "old", there may still be pressure from family, there may be no money to go back to school, they may now have too many obligations to take the time needed to make the change, they may be made to feel they are "not good /smart enough" for their preference in a profession.

      I would echo what others have said, it is their life, they will spend a large percentage of their life in the career for which they are trained.

      Why risk making your child unhappy for life by trying to force them into a career that has the prospect of wealth and prestige so you, the parent, can live your life vicariously through your child, or bathe in their limelight? If your child wants to choose a profession for one or both reasons, that should be up to them. I have nothing at all against lawyers or doctors, but here are just a couple of things to think about. How many doctors and lawyers are there out there who are incompetent? Lots and lots of them, if what we read and hear about from others' personal experience is correct. Think of the innocent people who go to jail because their lawyer did not do a good job. Think of the greedy lawyers that we all hear about who are "ambulance chasers". Think of the incompetent doctors who make mistakes in diagnoses, require unnecessary tests to make extra money, or make a big mistake in surgery.

      There is nothing at all wrong with giving a child encouragement toward an occupation that the child seems inclined to follow. But the child should be allowed to explore different avenues, and be exposed to lots of variety. Make as many opportunities as possible for the child meet people in different walks of life and observe them at work.

      As another reader said, reading is of first importance. Through reading a person can learn a great deal about what he wants or doesn't want (which is just as important). It is much better for a child to spend time reading than sitting in front of the idiot box, the computer, video games, or holding a phone for hour after hour. In most cases, reading gives a much more realistic picture of life, whether it be fact or fiction, and has a much more positive effect on a child's life, to say nothing of enlarging his horizons as well as his vocabulary.

      As a parent you need to make up your mind to help your child, not mold him into something that may not be appropriate for his talents and personality. A child's own life is too important, too valuable for someone else to make the decision about what he will do for the many years of his working life.

    • vecchios-sicilian 5 years ago

      Well I believe in providing the best education possible to my children and allowing them to explore all their options and welcome THEIR asking my opinon on their choices. I do not believe in molding them into what I decide they should be which is what this process is. Matter of fact this process is used on children, for various reason and motives, around the world.

    • Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

      I pick this choice because I guided my sons in the idea of "what do you want to be when you grow up?" then let them follow that dream. One son loved to cook and is now a chef with a BS in Culinary Arts. The other son is going back to college to finish his dream to be an engineer.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I think it should upto the children to decide.However parents should help them in choosing the right career path and making them select a viable option according to their personality

    • Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      Definitely parents could support whatever vocation their child chooses

    • bwet 5 years ago

      NO. parents can give them ideas and input about a good profession but must allow them to choose their own path at the end of the day. My personal opinion is that parents must still always encourage children to do their best in whatever they choose to do.

    • classifiedshi 5 years ago

      good informative stuff...please like me also

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      Our children need to live their life - not do what we want them to do. To be honest I disagree to 100 percent with this lens. We - the parents are on their side to help them on the way THEY choose.

      I would never in my live try to decide such important things for my son. I respect him and his decisions and that is something all parents should do.

    • John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      They need to find out for themselves what they're good at and what interests them. It's more important to give them choices and options, and support to help them discover. One bit of advice that's good is to choose twice - have something else in store.

    • John Tannahill 5 years ago from Somewhere in England

      They need to find out for themselves what they're good at and what interests them. It's more important to give them choices and options, and support to help them discover. One bit of advice that's good is to choose twice - have something else in store.

    • Megan Dalman 5 years ago from Phoenix Arizona

      the world needs a breath of new air. how can it have that if the parents are forcing them to go into a traditional world. It is their life not yours.

    • oceanfaerygoddess 5 years ago

      Absolutely not! You do your job for most of your life so you should do something that YOU love, that is about your unique gifts and talents, not what someone else wants for you. I have no preconceived ideas of what I want my daughter to be when she grows up - I just want her to be happy and doing something she loves.

    • Success_At_School 5 years ago

      Plant the seed, but not so firmly they don't have any room to choose for themselves.

    • pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      I don't agree. For one thing, a child/young adult should be free to search a bit and settle on a profession that they are most interested in. Or maybe it won't be just one thing. This seems a bit like brainwashing, which I personally don't agree with.

    • Karen I Olsen 5 years ago from Seattle, WA USA

      What about what the children want to become? It's about time we started asking them what they want, what they think, and how they feel. Kids aren't robots to be programmed. I'm still struggling to fulfill my own dream of performing folk music after a lifetime of messages that this isn't "prestigious" enough for my family. Let individuals be individuals.

    • Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Sounds a lot like brainwashing. I don't think this is a good idea in most cases.

    • Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      No because then that child wouldn't be happy unless it IS what they want to do. Let them be themselves, find their talents and do what they were 'born' to do.

      for instance can they draw well? Then encourage it so they can be an artist, architect, set decorator for movies, or illustrater etc...

    • Judy Filarecki 5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      No. The child will decide when he/she has experienced enough to have an idea. I never heard of physical therapy until my cousin got polio. At thirteen, I decided that was what I was going to be. I was a physical therapist for 40 years until I retired and I am thankful for all 40 years.

    • fullofshoes 5 years ago


    • KevCooper 5 years ago

      Absolutely not! You should encourage them to try anything and everything and make sure they get a sound education.

    • RuthMadison 5 years ago

      When your father asked you this question, what would happen if the answer were not something acceptable to him? What if you said "car mechanic"? What would he have done?

    • jimbarnes lm 5 years ago

      maybe encourage, but not choose

    • Ken McVay 5 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

      I think that's a horrible idea - aside from the fact that the profession you try to cram down your child's throat may not exist when he reaches adulthood.

    • Robert Zimmerman 5 years ago from SE Florida, USA

      We all are wired differently. The parent's goal should be to expose the child to as much variety as possible. Number One is READING!

    • PocketfulofParis 5 years ago

      I think they should be able to decide for themselves, its their life not their parents! And of you keep telling a child "oh your going to be a great doctor" then they will never focus as much on other skills such as the arts, and maybe their a great musician or artist, but they won't be able to try and be that profession because they have to be a doctor.

    I choose but if they disagree, It's ok!

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      • peggygallyot 5 years ago

        It's their wishes that are more important

      • Rosaquid 5 years ago

        Our children grew up to be what we hoped for them. We set the example of pursuing goals and reaching them, and provided a fertile, nourishing environment for them to flourish. We are pleased with the results.

      • CapnFatz 5 years ago

        I see absolutely nothing wrong with a parent providing input. Parents generally see a child's strengths and coupled with their experience in the world, can point them in the right direction

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        If the kid has a good idea, let him run with it. If he can't decide or picks a cruddy profession, try to steer him away from that. In the end, though, he'll have to make his own decision. However, influencing him to make the right one is a very good idea.

      Now that you know

      Would you choose a certain profession for your child?

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          my mom always wanted me to become an accountant. And I always wanted to be a designer. But through some circumstances I ended up being a nurse because the one who paid for my education wanted me to become a nurse. But now I enjoy being a SAHM and went back to designing different stuffs for freelance. In the end, I guess you will go back to what you are really passionate about. I don't want to impose a certain profession for my children, although by now I am already observing where they are good at, and I want to help them enhance the skills that I have found they are passionate of. I want them to be happy in life and not be miserable.

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          Genesis Davies 5 years ago from Guatemala

          Interesting, but I would never do this to my children.I feel that my oldest would be an excellent doctor, but it turns out he hates the sight of blood. Maybe a computer programmer? My second is very good at carpentry already and art, but in the end, I just want them to be happy. I will certainly insist that they learn skills that are marketable, but it's up to them to use those as they please.

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          seegreen 5 years ago

          This is a horrible thing to do to a child. I've seen a friend suffer terribly from following the path his parents wanted because he didn't want to let them down. Parents can be very cruel and cover it up with "love". It is pure mental manipulation.

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          Kay 5 years ago

          While I totally disagree with this idea, it was an interesting read.

        • LilD323 profile image

          LilD323 5 years ago

          If every child became what their parents told them to, we wouldn't have many important figures in the world. I don't agree at all!

        • bechand profile image

          bechand 5 years ago

          this is pretty messed up. The second module teaching you to brainwash your kid? wierd

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          cmacleod lm 5 years ago

          I can't morally agree with this 'tactic', I would resent my parents for doing this to me if they did. It's the child's life and they should be able to guide it themselves.

        • profile image

          cmacleod lm 5 years ago

          I can't morally agree with this 'tactic', I would resent my parents for doing this to me if they did. It's the child's life and they should be able to guide it themselves.

        • Nanciajohnson profile image

          Nancy Johnson 5 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

          I really wanted my sons to choose careers or professions that they would be happy with, not what I thought they should do. They are the ones who have to live with that choice.

        • treehousebrando1 profile image

          treehousebrando1 5 years ago

          Guide them in the right direction, but don't force them.

        • bwet profile image

          bwet 5 years ago

          i believe that this issue of choosing a profession for your children is more common in asian countries.

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          classifiedshi 5 years ago

          good informative stuff...please like me also

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @Dragon 40: I also agree. We don't need more brainwashed people in our world....

        • ZoieZoe profile image

          ZoieZoe 5 years ago

          When I was 6 yrs. old I thought an "engineer" was a train operator; the guy driving the train.

          Anyway, this topic of parents choosing their children's future profession (0r guiding them to a particular one) seems to be more common within certain cultures.

        • peggygallyot profile image

          peggygallyot 5 years ago

          We can encourage them by guiding them in the right direction

        • oceanfaerygoddess profile image

          oceanfaerygoddess 5 years ago

          I would encourage my daughter in whatever she would like to do, not make her do something that I want her to do.

        • mojoCNYartist profile image

          Dan 5 years ago from CNY

          Wouldn't telling a child that they have to do a job you pick force them to do a proffession that they may not enjoy????

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          Success_At_School 5 years ago

          I think they should be encouraged to pursue their natural talents.

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          clayva 5 years ago

          I think I'll wait until they show some real passion towards something and then nuture it. But I always tell them, be your own boss if you can. Interesting read.

        • pheonix76 profile image

          pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

          I think offering advice to your child about their future is great, but this method seems a bit too aggressive for me. Children and young adults should not feel pressured or obligated to pursue a career path that was chosen for them by their parents. What if that's not what makes them happy?

        • Judy Filarecki profile image

          Judy Filarecki 5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

          My husband's parents insisted he go into pre-dentistry. What he wanted was architecture, but they didn't agree. What did he do? He flunked out of college in his freshman years and started a very successful construction company, designing and building houses and additions.

        • KevCooper profile image

          KevCooper 5 years ago

          Guidance and encouragement is what you should offer your children.

        • Rosaquid profile image

          Rosaquid 5 years ago

          As far as profession, it's up to each one. We gave suggestions based on what we saw as their talents and strengths, and we provided the character-building environment to help them make good choices and reach their own dreams.

        • RuthMadison profile image

          RuthMadison 5 years ago

          I feel sorry for kids who grow up never looking at their own desires, but feeling locked into what their parents expect of them. For the kids I went to college with, this was a recipe for them being distant from their parents and not feeling free to talk with them in an honest way.

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          anne mohanraj 5 years ago

          Nice and informative!

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          SteveKaye 5 years ago

          I started with a Ph.D. in chemical engineering because it seemed to make sense. My dad was an engineer. And we do the best that we can with what we know. Now I write poetry and take photos of birds.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          Great lens! Sweet and simple. Congrats on the front page and thanks for the information!

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @jdwheeler: Another really good way to say what I think. I agree.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          @Dragon 40: Amen to that! I agree.

        • Dragon 40 profile image

          Ken McVay 5 years ago from Nanaimo, British Columbia

          Encourage a love for education and avoid trying to brainwash them.

        • jdwheeler profile image

          jdwheeler 5 years ago

          I believe you should definitely encourage them to set their sights high but ultimately it's up to them.