How to Help Your Teen Find His/Her “Purpose”

First of all, please know that you are not alone. All parents wonder and worry about what their son/daughter is going to do to support himself/herself once they leave the nest. And, many really wonder about the “when” of leaving. You want them to be ready. You have done all you can to equip them. It’s a worry that they will have enough money. And, you know that as they are just beginning to step towards independence, they still need your love and guidance. But, your child probably doesn’t realize that part, at least not yet…..

Young adults without a clear idea about who they are and what they really want to do for a career can wander aimlessly through some pretty big decisions such as which college they choose and which major they want to study. And that can lead to frustration, and maybe even some pretty BIG student loan DEBT.

You don’t want them to waste precious years trying to find themselves. And they feel just as afraid to fail.

Here are a few suggestions you can do to help your child discover his/her purpose:

  1. Encourage them to make a list of every occupation they are interested in. Also, ask them to make a list of jobs they have no interest in.
  2. A few will already know. Encourage them to connect with someone who is already in their chosen career field and arrange a date for your son/daughter to shadow this person at work.
  3. Most young adults don’t know what they want to do when they graduate from high school and that’s normal. A career assessment can help to narrow their focus by identifying 8-10 solid career options out of more than 30,000 different types of jobs that exist in the world.
  4. Ask your child: what are your favorite television shows, movies, and/or books? Make a list. Ask them to describe what they like most. Pay attention to what verbs are used in your child’s descriptions. These are clues to what he/she has an interest in doing.
  5. Keep the conversation going and be patient. Your son/daughter was born with personality strengths, talents and interests. Life experiences, both positive and negative are impacting his/her thoughts and decisions. Encourage him/her to go out and actively seek new opportunities to try. Check in with them often and give helpful input where appropriate. Pray for them to gain the insight needed to confirm what they were designed to do.

Opportunity Knox Network ( provides student consultation services that are tailored to meet each student’s individual circumstances. Parents are an integral part of that discovery process. That will save you and your child valuable time and money. Another resource is participating in a free college planning strategy call: Planning ahead includes preparing for the best ACT score, writing the most effective college application essays, and knowing how to negotiate the financial aspects of college/career planning.

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