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Recently my 4 year old daughter had a ‘talk on competition’ in her school. The topic was ‘My favourite community helper’. I was preparing her to talk about ‘teacher’ and she was trying to learn those lines without any interest. Just one day before the competition, she told me ‘Mom, I don’t want to talk about teacher. I want to talk about ‘doctor’ and I want to become a doctor when I become BIG.’ I was surprised at her thought. At this tender age, she has already decided what she wants to become when she grows up. Out of my curiosity, I asked her why she wants to become a doctor and not a teacher. Instead of her, my 6 year old son replied and the answer made me laugh which I tried to control as I didn’t want to demoralize my kids. He told innocently, ‘Mom, a teacher has to study all the times whereas a doctor just visits the hospital for some time and gives us tasty syrup when we fall sick.’ My son might have explained her to become a doctor when they both grow up for those ‘few hours of hospital visit and tasty syrups’. They have made choice for their future occupation (I am sure they will change it by next year) but am I ready to support (morally and financially) their career decision?
Their dream keeps on changing. For example, a few days back, my son wanted to become an engineer and my daughter, a singer. I have decided I will never push them in the direction of my choice; as it might destroy their confidence. The definition of ideal career varies from person to person. The possibilities are limitless – don’t stop your child. But since their current choice is to be a doctor, I want to support their dream. For the time being, I have prepared a to-do list on my mind: to buy a typical nurse and doctor toy outfit, a stethoscope, a microscope and a toy medical set. I want them to have a feel of being a doctor, to discover interest in their choice and to encourage them to follow their dream.
Here are a few tips to help prepare your child for becoming a doctor; but the child should have the desire and propensity for becoming one; we should not force them while planning for their career.
1. Encourage your child to problem solving and critical thinking skills. These skills will be helpful in confidence building and will build ability to handle stressful situation calmly.
2. Encourage your child to develop social skills by playing sports and participation in school extra co-curricular activities.
3. I told my kids about the required skill set for being a doctor like a knack for detail, love for books, good memory and readiness to help all kind of people all the times.
4. For my kids, their pediatric doctor is their ‘Role Model’. We, as parents, should present them a positive doctor role model. I explained them the importance of doctor in our society; how the doctor plays vital role in keeping people healthy.
5. I also explained my kids how many years and how well they need to study to become a doctor; and they really need to score good grades in their school and college years to secure seat in medical.
6. You need to explore various pre-medical and pre-dental programs. It will give you and them a clear picture about the eligibility requirements.
7. Finance is the most integral part while choosing a career. Children keep on changing their mind for their career choice, but whatever is their choice, we need to make arrangement for future financial needs. The sooner; the better. My husband has already made a few secure long term investments in LIC schemes, are you also ready with your investment plan?
Whatever is their dream, we, as parents, should give them the opportunity to achieve their special dream and help them to do their best. We just hope our children to achieve success in life. Some other points to remember for helping your child to make their place in the world:
· Encourage your child to pursue his/her dreams and not yours: It generally happens that we want our child to become what we wanted to become or what we really like. It will give rise to conflicts and demoralize the child.
· We should allow our child to explore as many options as he/she wants to before deciding upon his/her career. This way we can ensure that they will continue with the activity and they will be happy doing/studying it.
· It might be possible that your child is extremely talented in something like maths but he is very much interested in painting. It’s perfectly OK. Don’t force him to take up any career choice with maths, rather allow him to give some time to his hobby. It will help him think deeper and wider.
· You should never criticize your child’s dreams. Even if it is not feasible or unrealistic, don’t discourage them. Just relax, their dream keeps on changing so it will change by time.
· Let them take their own decision as none of us likes to be forced to do something what we don’t like. They just need your support and guidance. If you enforce your choice on them, they might feel that their choice is wrong or they are not capable enough to take right decision. It leads to unhealthy relationship between parents and child.
Listen! Encourage! Guide! Support!
Remember; don’t go to the extreme while deciding about future of your child. Don’t over-schedule your child and pressurize them with a million activities as this might have negative results. I am going to ask my kids, may be in their early teens –‘do you think you really want to become a doctor when you grow up?’ Whether your child chooses the medical field or not; these basic tips can be applied to any career choice. You just need to develop a sense of discipline and self confidence; your child is ready for the future success.