Talking the Future Through With Your Teen

You remember their first day at school as if it were yesterday. The nerves that needed calming down and those new school clothes that started off so immaculate and clean. Yet, those years have gone by in a flash and it’s time to help your teenager find the next step along the road to their career or educational success.

If you’re at a point where your teen needs to make some crucial life decisions about what and where to study, we’re here to help you all through the process that can be at times stressful and confusing for everyone involved.

The Basics

Your teen has put the work in and found subjects that they have both enjoyed and found they have a natural aptitude for. They’ll also know what they find difficult and challenging.

It’s time to sit down with your senior year teen and talk about the reality of their grade scores and what they are looking at and what they’ll need to secure a college place.

To help your child start to take ownership of the process have them write down all the factors that they’ll need to take into account. Yes, grades are the first place you should start but they should also consider any awards they’ve received. Their achievements in sports and their hobbies and interests outside of school.

Then the very best thing you can do to help is simply to ask them what they want to do? They may opt for the traditional route of going to college, though this option is sometimes far harder for some students to pursue than others. Or they may not. They may feel that going to college isn’t for them that they would rather find a job or enrol on a course that teaches some practical skills, perhaps coupled with an apprenticeship.

Whatever your child says at this stage, you’ll need to respect their decision and above all you mustn’t act disappointed as this will only serve to make your child feel guilty or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, dig their heels in even more. Remember what it was like to go through this decision-making process yourself and be patient as they figure things out.


If your teen does decide that a college course is for them then it’s time to start looking. Your first port of call is going to be the internet but where to start? Work with your child to narrow down the type of course they would like to enroll on. One of the easiests ways to start the process is to ask your child how far away they would be prepared to travel.

Once you’ve established how many hours max they’d be prepared to go you can narrow down the search to within a set radius.

You might also want to ask your child what kind of qualities they’d like the college to have. Will they have a strong sports presence or have a great college orchestra? Keep an open mind and choose between six to ten that your teen feels drawn towards. Some might seem out of reach but be prepared to include them even when the entry requirements seem particularly tough or the fees are a little on the steep side.

While college can be expensive, there may be help in the form of grants, loans and other federal financing that might help to bridge the gap.


While college might be your dream, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the dream of your child’s. If they have a firm idea in their mind of what they want to do and where they want to start then that desire to work and earn a living should be applauded.

Encourage them to look for employment that has a clear career progression. Help them to find an employer who takes on school leavers with a view to training and seeing them progress up through the ranks of their industry.

Don’t just take the first job that comes along but instead think further into the future and ask your child where they’d see themselves in five years’ time in the ideal job.


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It might be that your child really is lost and has little clue what they might like to do after school. You worry that they’ll take the first job on offer or that they’ll enrol on a course that will see them drop out before long. If this is the case then let them take a break. Have them volunteer with a charity that speaks to them and spend the time talking to a school guidance counselor about where they want to head to in life. Sometimes, a little space can make all the difference.

Practical Training

If your child has shown an aptitude towards a specific skill or has their eyes set on learning a skill closer to home then very often a technical training college can be the answer. Find a school that specialises in construction, robotics, like the Pinnacle Academy, and so forth. Helping your child find their passion in life is half the battle.


Your budding genius may have just hit on a startup idea that’s worth talking about. If your young entrepreneur has thought carefully enough about starting up a business, how about letting them explore that idea and seeing if they can make it fly?

Like any new business it will take some work and some commitment but with the right idea and your support, they might just be a success.

Whatever your child chooses to do, they’re looking to you for your support. Your idea may not be their idea and that’s ok. It’s fine to disagree but just remember that this is their life and not yours.

Be proud of what they have achieved so far and of what they have to offer. Lend a supportive hand and help your child achieve a future that they’ve always wanted, whether at work, college or as an entrepreneur.


I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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