Parents, help foster children’s career skills

Parents, help foster children’s career skills

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10 p.m. MDT October 23, 2014

If you’re a parent, you’ve likely wondered what you can do to foster career success for your children, even from an early age.

You don’t want to meddle too much, but you don’t want to leave them unprepared either — at least that’s how I’ve thought about it. Danielle Menditch, a career counselor with Career Pioneer Network, specializes in guiding families and children toward career readiness. She suggests these strategies:

• Set up chores and allowance for elementary-age children, and pay them what a neighbor would pay for the same work.

Also consider having your kids buy their own discretionary items they want — such as the latest Xbox — so they learn how their work translates into actual purchases.

• When they’re in high school, focus on helping children build work skills.

In addition to part-time and volunteer jobs, find ways to include your son or daughter in your career, such as talking about your work as a part of family discussions.

One lawyer dad who can’t breach his clients’ confidentiality will say things like, “I work with couples who no longer feel as if they can live together, and they have problems like figuring out who will take care of the family pets. What would you tell them to do?”

• If it’s appropriate for your family, talk about what you earn to demystify finances and draw comparisons.

One parent helped her daughter calculate how many hours she’d have to work to pay for volleyball lessons if she was employed as a social worker, as compared to working as doctor. Expose your children to how certain jobs would pay for real-world living expenses.

Said Menditch, “When I was in high school, $30,000 in salary sounded like so much money until my parents showed me on Craigslist what it would cost to rent an apartment and how much our grocery bill was each week.”

Menditch is giving a free talk on this topic from noon to 1 p.m. Nov. 6. For more information, contact her at danielle@careerpioneernetwork.com.

Katy Piotrowski, M.Ed., is the author of “The Career Coward’s Guides” and provides career and job search support with Career Solutions Group in Fort Collins. Reach her at (970) 224-4042 or katy@careersolutionsgroup.net.