MyTutor for Parents

6 Ways to help your teen plan their future

Your teen’s growing up fast, and it can be hard for them (and you) to know how to best support them as they become more independent. How do you know when to help, and when to let them work things out on their own? Ahead of ‘The Future is Yours’ -our free careers, uni and apprenticeships festival- we’ve put together 6 tips to help you help them as they work out their next steps in life (without helicoptering!)  Let’s dive in.

1. Encourage them to reflect on their interests and skills

What does your teen do that makes them feel interested, curious and happy? What are they really good at? Encourage them to have a brainstorm, and then to share their ideas with you. They might be a little shy about listing out their strengths – and that’s where you come in! You can help them realise how awesome they are by letting them know what they’re brilliant at (a parent’s area of expertise). If they’re not quite convinced by your compliments, it’s a good idea to back up what you say with some examples, so they know you’re not just saying it to make them feel good.

2. Go to inspiring talks and events together

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Events about careers, uni and apprenticeships can show teens the huge range of options they have, and really inspire them when they’re thinking about the future. There might be career events at their school or local colleges, as well as webinars and other live online events. 

At MyTutor, we’ve teamed up with work experience platform SpringPod to make deciding a little easier for your teen. In our free weeklong festival- ’The Future is Yours’, you can meet success stories who did apprenticeships, current uni students, young professionals and careers experts. Your teen will get to hear about their life experiences, how they decided on their career paths, and the advice they all wish they’d been told when they were at school. Teens will get to ask their own questions too, so they can come away with a stronger idea of what path they should go down. 

3. Encourage them to research career paths

If there aren’t any careers jumping out at your teen straight away, there are lots of places they can look for inspiration. They can take a careers quiz on the UCAS website which will show them a bunch of suggestions for what might suit them – and how to get there. If they’re thinking about doing an apprenticeship, they can explore the  Multiverse platform, which shows the amazing range of apprenticeships that are out there these days – from Google to Rolls Royce to the UN. The earlier your teen begins to think about their future, the easier it’ll be for them to take steps towards achieving their goal. A head start means they can check out entry requirements for the job they want to work in, and start building out their CV. They might need to pull up their grades now so that they get into the programme of their dreams. If they’re in need of a bit more confidence, finding a mentor for them who’s close in age can give them someone approachable to run ideas by, and get up-to-date UCAS or college application help. 

4. Share helpful resources

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It’s easy to get information overload. That’s why it’s handy for teens to have a few resources to turn to for inspiration and advice. From the Target Careers website, to the National Careers Service to work experience platform Springpod- pointing them in the direction of these awesome online resources can give them the info they need to make big decisions. They’ll have a mountain of useful tips on applications, career paths, and even on how to prepare a cover letter and CV. 

5. Help them find experts to talk to

It’s really helpful to speak to someone who’s already walked the walk. By putting your child in touch with extended family members, neighbours, family friends and friend’s parents to talk to about their careers, you can help them understand the many ways people pick and develop their careers over the years. At school, their Careers Advisor will know of even more professionals who they could meet and chat to. The more people’s stories they hear, the better position they’ll be in to plan an education and career that’s really right for them.

6. Keep an open mind

You might have a certain picture in mind about what your teen should do for their future career. But there’s a chance that path is not the one they want to follow. As a parent, you want your children to achieve their potential, and find long-term security -but that might look a little different than what you’ve imagined for them. It’s a good idea to have open talks with your teen about what makes them happy. Their decisions can then be based on their own passions instead of trying to meet other people’s expectations.

Worries aside, this is a super exciting time in your teen’s life! The world is really their oyster. At the same time, it can feel like a lot of pressure to make the ‘right’ decision. A good way to ease the stress is to reassure your teen that they don’t have to figure everything out straight away. And even if they change their mind later down the line, there are always ways to switch around and to follow their true passion (once they’ve worked out what that is!).

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