Parents encouraging their teen

Helping Teens Reach Their Goals

Children are thinking of who they want to be when they grow up from preschool age. At that time, the conversation is light as kids dream of being astronauts, princesses, singers, and doctors. As these children approach adolescence, pressure starts to rise to be more serious about your future plans. Starting freshman year in most high schools, students have the opportunity to take specialized classes that can prepare them for a career path. While I believe these classes were created with the intention to best prepare these students for their future, an unintended side-effect is the pressure these adolescents feel to make a certain decision they feel will impact the rest of their lives. It’s important that the adults in their circles help support them in walking with grace. 

Brainstorm Job Interests

Before these teens can ever begin pursuing their future, they have to have some options. Sit down with them and talk through some options for possible jobs they may be interested in. This can range from “I’ve heard this job is cool, but I don’t really know anything about it,” to “my mom does this job, and because of what I know, I’m interested.” It’s important that it is communicated that there are zero expectations in this step. The goal of brainstorming is to get an idea of paths to explore later. Write out all of the ideas on a piece of paper so you are able to see what your options are. 

Organize Your List

Once a list has been compiled, take time to look up descriptions of each job. Your teen may lose interest in some occupations just by learning what they actually do. With those that are left, find things that are in similar fields, like the medical field or mental health field, and group them together. Discuss things your teen likes and dislikes about each job so you can better understand their priorities when finding a job. Understand, too, that their priorities may be different than yours. Maybe you found a career that you like okay and it pays your bills, but your child’s priority is to find a career they love. That is okay! Help them understand what would be necessary to make a living with each job. There are going to be sacrifices in each career. 

Parents encouraging their teen

Have Conversations

Once the list has been narrowed, find ways to connect your child with individuals who are in the roles they want to pursue. 

  • Local career fairs can be a good location to find individuals representing many different occupations. •Your child’s guidance counselor may have some connections to individuals in different fields that could share their experience in their careers. 
  • Talk with your pastor. People from all fields are a part of the Body of Christ. There may be someone in your church who has the occupation your teen is interested in. 

Make Room for Change

This is where the grace comes in. The first career your teen is interested in will not likely be the one they pursue in the end. Remind them it’s okay to change their mind as they go along. If they start taking the career classes their freshman year and learn they aren’t interested in it, that’s okay. They can take a different class the second year. While they may not graduate with the title “career ready,” they can learn from each class they try. Encourage them to keep a running list of pros and cons, so when looking for new jobs, they can know what they like and don’t like. 

Thinking of the future can be stressful for both students and their parents. It’s important to remember whatever job your child decides to pursue, they can use it to glorify the Lord and grow His kingdom. As Paul says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” (Romans 12:6). So, encourage your children to use their gifts to honor God in whatever they choose. 


Contact us to schedule an appointment or to learn more about Teen Therapy at Life Training.

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