Ask Doug: About parental guidance

THE Northglen News wants you to pick our local neurofeedback practitioner’s brain.

We are, in conjunction with Doug Berry, running a column in which the Durban North resident and professional counsellor, will answer all your questions related to difficulty studying, sleeping, or focusing at school or university or even emotional or traumatic issues that you are struggling to overcome. 

Simply Ask Doug.

Fill in the form belowWe would love to know who you are, but if you want to remain anonymous, that’s okay, just mention that on the form.

Every week Doug will reply to these questions both in print and online.

  • The deadline to submit questions is Thursdays at 1pm.

Hi Doug

My son is currently in matric and is deciding on what career path to choose after school. Do you think it is good for parents to allow their children to choose their own path, or should there be parental input as well. What do you think is best in this situation? 

Doug responds

This is such an exciting and somewhat confusing time for his age. The answer to your question is never going to be straightforward, as so much weighs on how your family dynamic works. 

There is an old saying that goes “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life”. How this pertains to your situation may differ from others, but essentially, whatever choices are made, it’s worth all parties being satisfied. 

If he has a particular career or area of interest in mind, I’d suggest sitting with him and exploring how he would go about achieving it, what the cost of studies mean to you as a family and what kind of future he could have, if he pursues this. What is important to recognise is what the potential consequences of your actions and his may be in the future. For example, if he pursues a field of study and career that he is not truly interested in and passionate about, will he be able to motivate himself to study and achieve his goals and will he feel satisfied that this is what he wants to do with his life? 

By the same token, if he is unsure and confused by his choices, your guidance and advice as parents will be of such great importance. Perhaps there are options he hasn’t thought about that you, as his parents can help walk him through. Often people of his age don’t truly realise how long certain fields of study can take, which is something else you can assist him with, by getting information from universities, technical institutions or training providers.

You can also take him for a career assessment, which sometimes provides options that haven’t been considered before. 

If there is a family profession that you’d advise him to go into, talk to him about it, so that an educated and consensual decision can be made, in order to avoid any conflict in future. 

The life of a learner, even at matric level, often does not prepare you adequately for the real world and those fortunate enough to have parents who can support them are truly in an advantageous position. Just by your asking the question hows you care enough about his future to help make the right choices. 

Whatever your decision and his, your parental input will be so valuable to him, even if he doesn’t know it yet. I wish you all the best of luck.

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Doug Berry, neurofeedback practitioner and registered counsellor

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