Depressed School Boy

Careers! Who gets to choose – Parents or Kids? By Dr. Namitha Raju

Cute boy and his son discussing 3D house model

A clever advertisement recently released ( by Bournvita, a children’s health drink company in India, promoted a social message. In this ad, they changed the packaging of their health drink and presented it in unimaginable containers (such as a glass cleaner, a soap box, a toilet cleaner, a tissue box, etc.) to see how someone would react to a different container shape instead of how it is meant to be. They used this analogy to urge parents not to force kids to choose a profession against their will and make them something they don’t want to be! The ad ended on a note urging parents to show “Faith not Force.” My article today is inspired by this advertisement. 

Bournvita PackA survey by joblist that interviewed working people and parents found that 40 percent of working people felt pressured to follow their parents’ career advice, while 2 out of 3 parents said they were disappointed when their children didn’t pursue their desired careers. It is thus no surprise that many parents, despite their best intentions, end up feeling misunderstood by their kids and their kids feel unsupported in their career choices. As parents, we want the best for our kids. For many parents, one way to define best is by seeing their kids achieve financial success. There is no typecasting or judgment here. This definition reflects a valid need. We all know how hard it is to live without financial security. 


Some parents are so concerned about their kid’s future that they take it upon themselves to make career decisions for their kids and expect kids to implement them! There are also many other parents who encourage kids to pursue their interests but keep reminding their kids of their goals so often that kids start to rebel and lose interest in pursuing anything well! So while a huge parenting objective is to help kids be financially secure, it is often executed using some form of force. 

Bournvita advertisment in the NewspaperLet us first ask ourselves, “what is our real goal as parents?”. We all want our kids to lead happy, fulfilled lives. I don’t think any parent would disagree with me on this. And as parents, we consider financial stability as a means to help our kids become happy adults, and this is something kids also understand. What then is lacking in the process that leads to rifts instead of collaboration between the parent and child?

The inability of the parent to express their best intentions to kids without using force or control is at the core of this issue! Parent-child connection is directly linked to the quality of decisions kids make as they grow. Parent-child relationships that are collaborative open a child to receiving their parent’s ideas and life experiences and using them to evaluate their own emerging ambitions and interests. Even if parents are unfamiliar with their kid’s area of interest, faith in their child can inspire parents to support their kids. Then what stops parents from building that great relationship with their kids? What stops parents from showing faith over force?

Actually, it’s not surprising that force overtakes faith in our parenting. This is how most of us were raised; it’s the traditional way of parenting, a style carried out for many generations! In traditional parenting, compliance is seen as respect and often extracted through forcible means (shame, threat, yelling, comparison, nagging, sarcasm, etc.). Previous generations have followed the rules and complied with authority to survive. We end up repeating the same cycles because that is what is familiar to us. 

Young engineer discussing his eco-city project with sons

Further, while complying, one cannot be creative or courageous. Especially in today’s age, success comes from collaboration, innovation, and courage, not compliance! Whether you pick a career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or non-STEM fields (Arts, Sports, etc.), success will come to you through your passion, not just a college degree. Our job as parents is to kindle our kid’s interests so that they grow to feel more passionate about it.  

Research in the last two decades from neuroscience and child development identifies the drawbacks of traditional parenting. Any parental consequence that affects a child’s self-worth or self-esteem, even if it’s not harsh, leads to kids’ non-compliance with parents. Other negative effects the child experiences might include depressive feelings, behavior problems, and poor conscience development, making them incapable of making sound decisions. 

And suppose you do attempt to be aware of some of the conditioning patterns and don a new face to parent differently. In that case, you are quickly caught in the ‘scarcity’ trap, another facet of traditional parenting. The scarcity mindset is the belief that there isn’t much to go around and only a few can succeed. So naturally, this mindset breeds competition and Depressed school boy the other hand, an abundant mindset developed by adopting a peaceful parenting style allows one to view the world differently. We can start to see non-hierarchical relations and infinite resources, and possibilities and drop the constant fear that lingers about our child’s future.

Our kids need us to be their safe harbor, their guide so that they can navigate the complexities of life and make good decisions for themselves, especially their career decisions since that will dictate the direction and quality of their life. So it is upon us to transform how we parent, making our kids feel seen, loved, and empowered by moving away from the traditional, controlling style and towards a transformational, peaceful parenting style. Because … if we can’t provide it to them, who will?

About the Author

Namitha Raju - Certified Master Parent CoachNamitha Raju is a Certified Master Parent Coach. She coaches parents to develop deep connections and peace in their relationships with their kids. Her company, Beautiful Bonds, is based on the principle that emotional growth, healthy relationships, and personal transformation are the keys to fulfilling parenthood. Dr. Raju received a Ph.D. in Psychology, where she studied early development. As a mom of two kids, she found that her academic experience couldn’t rescue her from her day-to-day parenting challenges! Her curiosity led her to garner the expertise necessary to inculcate deep connections between parent and child. She serves parents virtually throughout the US.  If you would like to find out more, please visit

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