Your parents are the biggest influence on your career. It is important to discuss your education with them. In this endeavour, however, you will require the greatest skill, and hence, here are a few tips to ease the process. Think about what you are going to say before you say it, and choose your moment well, and there’s a pretty good chance your parents will understand.
1. Do your homework: Whatever field you are considering joining, find out more about it. Put together data and examples of people who have excelled in that area. Find out the path they followed to achieve their dream and what challenges they faced along the way.
Tip: See if you can get real-life examples from among your relatives, friends, neighbours, etc. Real relatable examples will go a long way in convincing your parents.
2. Understand their expectations and dreams: Knowing what they expect from you, how they wish to see you in the future will help you come up with a stronger pitch. Yes, it is a pitch! You have to put on your I-talk-sense-and-am-hard-to-say-no-to hat in a very subtle yet effective manner.
Tip: You don’t have to be pushy like a sales guy, or stubborn as a teenager. Make them realise that you are mature!
3. Understand what their objections are and handle them well: You may be presented with common objections like ‘that field has no scope’, ‘you won’t make enough money’, ‘but you never liked that subject’, etc. Be smart enough to handle them well. Getting angry and defensive will not get you anywhere. Make sure you have the facts to argue your side of the case, and the patience to understand and address your parents’ concerns.
Tip: You know your parents best and know what works with them. Think of possible objections and strategise your moves before you go ahead.
4. Talk to them individually: Between your mom and dad, you know who favours you more or is more reasonable. Speak to them first and get some moral support before you approach the tough parent.
Tip: You may want to consider recruiting the help of another influencer—a senior family member, grandparent, your father’s friend, etc, someone your parents will find it harder to say no to.
5. Choose your moment wisely: Don’t make a big hue and cry about your career when you can see that they are obviously too upset, stressed, tired, etc. This will turn the tide against you instantly.
Tip: It is advisable to speak to them when they are completely relaxed like after dinner or during a weekend. But then again, you don’t want to disturb your father during his soccer or cricket match, or your mom during her daily soaps.
6. Take responsibility for your actions: Convince them that you know what you are doing and are ready to own your choices. Let them know that you know the consequences if things don’t work out in your favour, and are prepared to deal with them.
Tip: Give them several examples from your past of times when you have made good decisions—that is, if you have such positive examples. Otherwise, it’s is best not to dig up the past.
7. Make them understand how important it is for you: Let your passion speak for itself. Our parents are usually more understanding than we think. If you show them how much it means to you, it is likely that they will understand.
Tip: In order to do this, you need to be really convinced about it yourself and need a genuine reason—not something like you want to pursue it because your girlfriend is doing it, or thinks you should do it. Be sensible about it!