By Mireille Moisan, co
The current situation is not without effect on young people and on the planning of their plans for the future. These projects, linked to anxiety-provoking choices for some, find themselves in a storm of uncertainties that upsets young people as much as their parents. However, help is available to support her child during this important period of his life, despite the adverse effects of the pandemic.
From the end of primary school and beyond secondary studies, young people are called upon to make choices in line with their interests and aptitudes. They can be difficult to do because of the impact they have on their academic progress. These choices also affect personal aspects that are sometimes difficult to identify, such as their strengths, values, professional aspirations, etc. Making choices takes time and a necessary introspection.
Despite the uncertainty, the majority of young people will soon have to determine projects that are close to their hearts and in which they can flourish and live their adult life to the fullest. The role of parents is important in the orientation process for young people, even more so in these difficult times. That being said: parents do not carry the choice of young people on their shoulders! It is impossible to have answers to all the questions and it is normal to admit it and talk about it… Acknowledging it is also a step in the right direction!
A few tips
Even if at the moment the societal discourse is rather dark, it is possible to shed some light on it. As a parent, there are constructive strategies that can be used to help young people see things more clearly. Here are some examples.
- Take the time to listen : daily activities are conducive to discussions: in the car, cleaning the dishes, watching TV, your youngster talks to you and informs you about what he likes, what he doesn't like, his passions, his interests. These conversations give clues to elements of his personality, his aspirations and his concerns.
- Reflect to him his good moves, his strengths : your youngster passed a difficult exam? Does he miss his sport? Found a job? Talk it over! More than ever, it is important to give positive and constructive feedback, while recognizing that the situation is not easy for anyone. It is very rewarding for a young person to remember what he is good at and you are the best person to express his qualities, his strengths, his aptitudes.
- Encourage her to explore : Although the traditional open house activities no longer take place face-to-face, it is possible to view videos or program presentations on most post-secondary institutions' websites. Likewise, several internships in the workplace can be carried out in compliance with health guidelines. Mentoring and exploring job areas is easily done online. Exploring helps fuel your youngster's thinking. Also, discussions with you can be very interesting and meaningful about the choices to be made.
- Show understanding : young people have their own interests and make choices that do not always correspond to what we would like for them. In times of crisis, these choices are even more uncertain and do not necessarily rest on as much thought as possible. If your youngster is interested in a profession that you don't like, it is important not to denigrate this choice. Rather, find out what attracts him, discuss it openly. You can also search the web for the said profession to find out more.
- Be patient : some young people have no idea what they want to do later and that's quite normal! It is for this reason that exploration is important, it is normal AND HEALTHY for a young person to seek, to change his mind, to question himself. This process helps him get to know himself better. And since the perfect choice does not exist, let us swap the notion of "choice" by that of " projects " in the plural! Which is much more constructive and less restrictive or threatening.
In short, use the means available to help your child identify a little more who he is. And there is help! The guidance counselor is the ideal professional to integrate this exploration into a process of self-discovery.
The guidance counselor: a plus in times of uncertainty
Guidance counselors accompany students on their journey to help them become aware of their aptitudes, personality traits, values and interests, in order to enable them to make appropriate choices and find their place in society. It is never too late to consult, clarify everything or readjust the educational path.
In recent weeks, the means to reach young people have multiplied in several schools and post-secondary institutions. Whether through the creation of digital tools, online questionnaires, virtual experiences, videoconferences or others, guidance counselors are there to support young people and their parents.
A site to help parents in Quebec
The Order of Guidance Counselors of Quebec (OCCOQ) has designed Espaceparents.org, a site to equip parents on this subject. An online guidance counselor can also answer their questions and concerns directly on this site.
Some examples of websites to support virtual exploration.
Carrefour education also offers Landmarks, the official site for educational and professional information.