Talking to parents about careers
How to answer your parent's questions and fears about your career.
My parents don't understand what I'm good at
Your parents might not understand your NCEA credits and how they show what skills you have and what you're good at. You could:
- Explain NCEA – talk to them about your NCEA credits and how NCEA works.
- Explain Vocational Pathways – show them how your vocational pathway points to industries you could work in.
Five students give advice on how to talk to your parents about careers (Video - 2.27 mins).
How to answer your parent's fears about your career
Here are suggestions to help you answer your parent's questions about your career choices.
"You couldn't do that job!"
Your parents may not think you have the right skills, abilities, gender or NCEA credits to do the career you want to do. You could:
- Ask questions – why don't they think you have the right skills and abilities? What could you do to get these skills?
- Check their understanding of skills – go to the job in our Jobs database and show them the list of skills needed.
- Show them you have the skills – use the Skill Matcher and CareerQuest tools. If you have the right skills, these tools will suggest the career you're interested in.
- Show your work experience log – they can see the skills your learned through work experience.
- Make an appointment – arrange for them to talk with you and your careers adviser at school about your abilities.
"There's no future in that job!"
Your parents may not understand why you want to do a career that is hard to get into and has limited jobs, such as acting or forensic science. You could:
- Show them your plan – make a plan of the steps you'll take to get a job in your career after training.
- Show them your research – check out our Jobs Database and labour market information, and talk to people working in the industry.
- Have another plan – it might take a while to get into your chosen career. Show your parents a list of other options if you don't get into that career quickly.
"Why don't you become a doctor or lawyer? Those are good jobs."
Your parents may think that success only comes from traditional, professional careers in medicine, law and accounting. You could:
- Do our CareerQuest quiz and Skill Matcher tool – show them the results and how they suggest suitable careers for you.
- Show them our Jobs database – they will see the salary, job outlook and progressions of the career you're interested in.
- Show them our YouTube channel – they can watch successful people in a wide range of jobs talk about their careers.
- Ask family friends for help – if you have family friends who are successful in a career you'd like, ask them to talk to your parents.
"I want you to do what I do."
Your parents may want you to join their business, office or factory, or do the same job as them. You could:
- Acknowledge them – say you understand why they want you to have the same career path as them.
- Explain – tell them why it is important to do your chosen career and what it means to you.
- Make an appointment – arrange for them to talk with you and your careers adviser at school.
"You should go to university."
Your parents may want you to go to university, but university may not lead to the career you want. You could:
- Show them our Jobs database – they will see the training requirements for the career you want.
- Alternative training options – tell them about other ways to train, such as apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
- Use our Compare Study Options tool – show them the salary and job outlook from different study options.
Find out more
Careers New Zealand website
Updated 19 Jun 2018