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Parents do influence children’s work future

Parents matter when it comes to many things in their children’s lives but especially their future jobs as adults. 

The influence on how kids think about and plan for the future is significant throughout their lives. Deciding on education and careers makes long term impacts on adult lives. These influences can be positive or negative.

At one end of the spectrum are parents who are overprotective and try to control every aspect of their children’s lives. These kids often have difficulty in becoming productive, independent adults. These parents are sending a message that the children can’t handle life’s challenges on their own. It also leads to a lack of self-confidence. 

They are setting them up for failure as an adult without the continuation of parental guidance. They generally do not make good employees because they lack independent thinking and a sense of responsibility. There are many consequences, both personal and professional, that may evolve.

In the same manner, overindulgence can have life long, devastating effects on a person. Buying your kids everything they want, doing their homework for them, fighting their battles for them, always saying “yes” and on and on are some ways a parent’s overindulgence can damage them far more than saying “no.”

These parents don’t mean to hurt their kids by their actions but in fact that is what they are doing. The “spoiled child syndrome” is giving children everything they want. It can be complex. 

Parents often go into debt to accomplish their zeal to give everything their kids want in the effort to “give them a better life than they had.” 

Big mistake.

They are being taught that the rules don’t apply to them. They demand their own way and are inconsiderate of others. They often blame others for all their problems. They experience many difficulties as an adult and are challenged in many jobs as well as in personal relationships.

A lack of motivation, creativity and independence are the traits of these new employees who also struggle with teamwork. A sense of entitlement results as well as problems in social relationships with peers, teachers, bosses and others in positions of authority.

Can anything be done by parents to reverse these results in their children? If realized soon enough adjustments can be made, but it is not easy.

Assigning chores to kids, not giving them everything they want, not always taking the child’s side in differences with teachers and coaches and holding them accountable are the kinds of positive actions that can be taken. It is hard to reverse the effects of years of indulgence and protectiveness but it is never too late to take steps to turn it around. Your child’s future is at stake.

A person’s individual work ethic can be chalked up to the influence of parents. Research has shown that daughters of working moms, for instance, tend to become high achievers and earners. Parents are the single most significant factor in determining a kid’s work orientation when they become adults. 

Children learn by observing and interacting with their parents. For example, parents who are fulfilled in their jobs and get a lot of satisfaction from their work, pass on that similar orientation to their children. In the same way, parents who come home and complain about their jobs are setting up their children to more than likely see work as just a grind. It comes down to the strength of the parent/child relationship as to whether the child will as an adult work only for a paycheck or become a highly engaged employee. 

Career orientation is important in our American culture which values getting ahead in life. When you love your work, it doesn’t seem like work.

All businesses seek employees who are committed to their jobs and become productive in their work. Parents have the opportunity to influence children’s choices, from passing on their genes to giving advice, setting good examples and encouraging them to strive for their best in life.

It is worth the effort.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.