Originally Posted by mickeysgal
I don't care what occupation or degrees my children end up with. As any parent of course we want them happy in what they chose BUT up to a point. I'm sure I'm not alone in that as parents we want them to be able to move on (and out of the house) and enjoy a sustainable career. And by sustainable I mean on their own two feet in a job with benefits/health insurance that they can live independently. I have to agree with a prior poster - I believe most kids think they know what it takes to live truly on their own but very little realize the full extent of that. So the question to ask of any child pursuing whatever degree, certification, or job right out of the paper....will this type of job lead you to that sustainable lifestyle? In the end, I just don't want my kids 35 years old with a degree (and possibly loans) sleeping on my couch or living in my basement, etc. That, in the end, isn't going to make them - or us - happy. I don't plan on having to support my kids because they chose a degree that essentially isn't supporting. Best to help them evaluate now rather than later.
Many parents stop at the "I just want them to be happy" part. Are they going to be happy if the job/career they pick lands them square on your couch because it's not in demand and they can't find anything or doesn't pay well enough for them to stand on their own two feet? Maybe they will be happy, maybe they won't but next thing you know, there's a thread on the DIS from a parent about the deadbeat kid living with parents for upteen years and what should they do?
It's OK - parents - to ask the tough question - is this truly a sustainable career choice? It's not knocking the child, or harming their self esteem, or being snobbish - it's a question - a valid question. And when they choose the career within the school, ask the school for their placement rates and the average starting salaries for these jobs. They should have these statistics to share. That's the proof in the pudding right there.
But what qualifies as a sustainable career choice vs. a non-sustainable career choice? Whose opinion/experience carries the most weight? Obviously no one wants their kid to dream of being a pan handler but what makes the dream of being a chef any less than the dream of being a doctor (not saying you said that, just asking that question as an example that relates to this particular post)? Plenty of chefs enjoy their jobs and make a decent living. If a child wanted to be one why wouldn't their parent assume that he could be one of the successes instead of one of the failures. We all know that a lot of kids drop out of med school. And that the incidence of depression and even suicide among doctors is the highest in history. Why don't parents who push their kids in that direction ever assume that their kid could be one of those?
Rhetorical question, I know. Just food for thought. I really do think that for many (maybe even most) this is more about snobbery and self pride ("my kid, the doctor") than anything else.
FWIW there are loads of college grads with degrees in fields they and their parents thought were tickets to success sleeping in their parent's basement as we speak. It's not only those kids who majored in Egyptian Anthropology. There are never any guarantees. IMO everyone deserves permission to try. Sometimes it's the support of loved ones that is the difference between success and failure.