How many people are struggling with the problem where your parents want you to be something in the future that you may particularly not be interested in?
(Cough, cough, doctor-engineer-lawyer, cough.)
Welcome to the club.
When you’re little, it’s easy to conform to whatever your parents want you to do, mainly because you don’t know any better. Growing up, I may have wanted to become a teacher, a baker, a fashion designer, an artist, an actress – but at the end of the day, I knew I would become the doctor my parents wanted me to.
[bctt tweet=”I realized I was letting my parents decide my future for me based on their wishes. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
But as I grew older, it wasn’t so simple. I realized I was letting my parents decide my future for me based on their wishes. And in fact, I didn’t know anything much about doctors, besides the fact that they make a lot of money. As I started to come of age, I explored my options more and decided that I had zero interest in the medical field, but a huge passion for education. Teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do, and the older I grew, the more certain I was that wanted to pursue a teaching career.
There’s an enormous diversity of jobs out there. Money is an important factor, to be sure, but does it matter more than your dedication to your field? Going against your parents’ wishes may be uncomfortable at first. But you have to think about your future and what’s in store for you. Although it may be one of the hardest things to do, sometimes we must defy our parents’ wishes to explore and discover our interests and capabilities and go down the “road not taken,” as Robert Frost would say.
So how do you tackle this disagreement between you and your parents? Here’s how I made it work, without any shouting and with only a few tears.
1. Think seriously about your options.
First of all, think about what it is exactly that your parents want to be. Don’t be ignorant or afraid to explore the profession even if you’re not interested. After talking to my mother about becoming a doctor, I gave it some consideration. Is there even the slightest possibility you may want to pursue this career in the future?
[bctt tweet=”Here’s how I made it work, without any shouting and with only a few tears.” username=”wearethetempest”]
I felt I had a one percent chance that I wanted to become a doctor, but that one percent is still something. A little thinking never hurt.
2. Research each field.
Look at the profession your parents have proposed for you. What’s the environment like? What are the working hours and pay? What kind of experience, hobbies, and interests should you have if you want to pursue this career? Injections, blood, and human bodies give me the shivers, so the even just reading about the environment was a total turn off for me. However, I did acquire a broader knowledge of the medical field, which helped show my parents I came prepared.
You might also find that the job you thought you were interested in involved more higher education than you realized, or couldn’t support the kind of lifestyle you’re aiming for.
3. List the pros and cons.
Once you’ve done enough research, use that information to compare and contrast the job you’re interested in vs. what your parents are interested in. Are there any similarities at all? Notice if the differences are major or minor. Teaching students is very different as to dealing with patients.
[bctt tweet=”Trust me, this can be a nerve-wracking step. ” username=”wearethetempest”]
One similarity between the two is that patience is a key quality. But as for the other details and requirements, there are more differences than similarities – not enough that medicine seemed a reasonable compromise for me to make.
4. Consult a neutral third party.
I found that even after all the research and details I wrote down, I was still feeling unsure. I felt like I needed to talk to someone about this. My parents weren’t the greatest option since they are biased. Talk to your friends, but it’s better if you can reach out to or even shadow professionals of both careers you are comparing.
I interviewed some teachers to hear about their experiences, and I actually found that talking to my counselor helped me a lot. It helped me determine the path I wanted to take and realizing that it’s my future, not my parents’.
5. Make your decision.
Do you want to stick to your original career, or would you like to give the career your parents want you to do a try? If you’ve decided to give your parents’ wishes a shot, be involved in something that will give you a taste of the experience you will handle when you’re older. You can never be sure if you like something or not if you don’t try it first. In my case, I was 101 percent sure the medical field wasn’t right for me, so I didn’t take this step. However, because I am interested in teaching, I decided to be a teacher’s aide for future classes to gain some skill and knowledge.
6. Break the news, not their hearts.
After your final decision, it’s finally time to talk to you parents about it. But do it CALMLY. Trust me, this can be a nerve-wracking step. In fact, I was so nervous I burst into tears when I told my parents there is no way I am becoming a doctor.
However, this is where all that backup research comes in. Prove to your parents that you have obtained new insight on the profession and use it as support when you’re making your claim. At the same time, don’t be too harsh. They are your parents and they only want what’s best for you.