• Amba Brown

How far should parents go in enforcing career choices?

Updated: May 20, 2019



Tales of people pursuing particular careers they are not passionate about are endless. But how much influence should a parent wield in their child’s career decisions?

Raymond, a Fashion and Design student at Management Training Advisory Centre, has always dreamed of becoming an interior designer. But his dream was far different from the dream his father had for him. “Being an engineer himself, my father wanted me to follow his footsteps,” he says.

In fact after Senior Four, his father wanted him to enroll for an engineering related course. Though Raymond had no problem with the shortcut, he had a problem studying a course he had no passion for. “I was determined to stick to only fashion-related courses,” he says.

This brought about a father-son conflict causing Raymond to take a year off studies. As he figured out his next step, he took on a catering gig, the proceeds of which he used to enroll himself into the Fashion and Design course he is currently pursuing.

Though parents certainly have a big role to play in their children’s lives, Ngozi Osarenren, a professor of guidance and counselling and head of department, Educational foundations, University of Lagos, notes that imposing their ideas on or forcing a child to pursue a particular career should be minimal. “In such matters, the child’s ability and interest should be taken into consideration,” she says.

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