Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

History Repeats Itself: Parental Involvement in Children's Career Exploration/L'histoire Se Répète : La Participation Des Parents Dans L'exploration De Carrière Pour Enfants

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy (Online)

History Repeats Itself: Parental Involvement in Children's Career Exploration/L'histoire Se Répète : La Participation Des Parents Dans L'exploration De Carrière Pour Enfants

Article excerpt

Understanding the career development processes of children and youth is an important area for researchers. Given the current social and economic context that is predicting a significantly more challenging future in terms of career opportunities for young adults entering the workforce, it is critical to further our awareness about how young people can best capitalize on their ambitions, talents, and abilities. Translating this knowledge into effective educational, economic, and social policies will subsequently benefit both the individual and the collective.

Hoyt (1984) was among the first to highlight that parents had both the right and the responsibility to become involved in their children's career decisionmaking. Moreover, he suggested that opportunities exist for all families to do so, including those who may be challenged by environmental, economic, sociological, intellectual, or psychological circumstances. However, much of this research has focused on understanding the influence of parents on their children's career development, most often from the perspective of children and adolescents themselves (Alliman-Brissett, Turner, & Skovholt, 2004; Kracke, 1997; Otto, 2000; Whiston, & Keller, 2004).

Little is known about the families of origin of the parents in the above-cited studies, their own educational and career experiences, and how these relate to their children's future career development. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to address three research questions: (a) how do parents perceive their roles in the children's career development? (b) how do parents' educational and career histories influence their perceptions of their roles, and (c) what strategies do parents utilize to foster their children's career development needs? This article reviews the literature on parents' perceptions of their role in children's career exploration and presents the findings of a study that explored their role in the context of their educational and career histories. Implications for practice are discussed.

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT AND ACHIEVEMENT

During the past 60 years, a substantial body of research literature has developed that explores the relationship between parental involvement and children's academic achievement. Findings from this research are unequivocal in concluding that parental involvement is a significant predictor of children's academic success (Jeynes, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2012). In contrast, knowledge regarding parental involvement in the career exploration processes of children and adolescents has only emerged within the past 25 years as a meaningful area of study. Notwithstanding the differences in outcomes of interest, theory-based knowledge of the impact of parental involvement on academic achievement can guide the identification of key contextual factors in career exploration.

First, a key factor is how parental involvement is defined and subsequently measured. Current definitions of parental involvement include psychological factors such as parental aspirations, expectations, interests, and attitudes and beliefs regarding education (Taliaferro, DeCuir-Gunby, & Allen-Eckard, 2009). Other studies define parental involvement in children's career exploration in behavioural terms, for instance, providing feedback or advice such as encouraging children to move on to postsecondary education rather than working-class careers (Downing & D'Andrea, 1994). Helwig (2004) defined parental involvement as engaging in career- related discussions with children and determined that parental involvement was one of five key variables that predicted children's career development. Parental involvement has also been defined as general psychosocial support, which acts as a protective factor that can help promote career preparation and reduce the risk for school disengagement among urban middle- and high-school students (Perry, Liu, & Pabian, 2010). From a systems perspective, the concept of parental involvement can reflect participation along a continuum of relational connections ranging from disengaged to enmeshed within the home, school, and community contexts (Dietrich & Salmela-Aro, 2013; Hill & Tyson, 2009; Schultheiss, Kress, Manzi, & Glasscock, 2001; Seabi, Alexander, & Make, 2010). …

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