Following step-by-step

The reason why some children follow their parent’s footsteps

 Parents help guide their children while on their path to success, whether it shall be giving them advice or showing them the right decisions to make.

Mason Hedge

Parents help guide their children while on their path to success, whether it shall be giving them advice or showing them the right decisions to make.

Mason Hedge, Managing Editor (Print)/Distribution Director

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People have always been told that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up. They’ve always been told to be different or to take a path that fits them the most, which means no outside influence should affect that path. However, there may be one influence in some of those people’s paths: their parents.
However, just how big of an influence do parents have on their children’s career outlook? In reality, that influence turns out to be quite large on children. A study from the Longitudinal Study of American Youth shows that in families who don’t encourage their children to go to college, only 4% decided to pursue higher education after high school. This differs from families that do encourage their children to attend college, in which 41% of those children decided to pursue higher education after high school. This shows that parents play a crucial role when it comes to the outlook on their children in the future.
This leads to an important question that a lot of people ask in their lifetime: if a child can be whatever they want to be or do whatever they want to do in high school, why do they chose to follow in the footsteps of their parents?
One of the possible answers deals with the parents approving of what the child does. According to chron.com, “Parents’ high standards sometimes influence children to pursue activities they think will win the approval of their parents.” This means that sometimes, parents put high standards on their children to the point where the child will decide to pursue careers or activities that they think their parents would approve of.
Parents who encourage their children to take certain athletics or extracurriculars also influence their children to commit to that activity full time. There are those who think that parents pushing their children to do these activities can be a good thing because the more time someone spends doing a certain activity, the more time they have to explore that activity and strengthen their skills. However, the opposing view to this states that children should explore these career paths for as long as they want to and that parents should not push their children to keep doing it if they don’t want to.
“My kids ask for my advice, but ultimately their choice are theirs and they need to own the choice that they make,” math teacher John Rosa says. “I’ve learned that [it’s] best to let the kids choose their own paths. You can’t force a child to do something that their heart really is not into.”
Whether people agree not, there are parents that push their children to do certain activities and explore certain careers. Sometimes children will choose paths that they believe will please their parents the most. Sometimes parents will push their children to pick a path that the parents approve of. Either way, a kid’s path to happiness is choosing the career and activities that they enjoy the most, with or without the influence of their parents.

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