Our world today is filled with many unfulfilled people in their chosen careers and professions. Many have attributed this problem to the insistence of their parents or guardians in forcing them to study a particular course of study during their time in the tertiary institution. The end results for such individuals today are frustrations, lack of fulfillment, regrets, and the likes. Though few got it right, research has shown that close to 90% of individuals who were forced to study a particular career against their interests do not come close to fulfillment in such. This problem has continued till today as many parents still delight in insisting their children go a particular way when it comes to the choice of career…

This article sheds light on major reasons why parents insist on a particular profession for their children.  When a problem is properly diagnosed, then a cure is in sight.

1. Ignorance. The number one reason on the list is ignorance. Ignorance simply means lack of knowledge. Ignorance they say is the father of destruction. It has destroyed more lives than any other thing in this world. Parents had ignorantly forced their children in the past to follow certain professions simply because of a lack of knowledge about who those children were. When the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse will ultimately be inevitable. When a parent is ignorant of God’s purpose for a child, ignorant of the child’s natural interests and inclinations, temperaments, and personality, ignorant of his or her best subject(s) in secondary school, ignorant of prospects of a particular field of study, etc. such parents may ultimately misguide their children or even impose their own choice on such a child without considering the factors above. I have seen several students who want to do music or become an actress but whose parents are insisting such students must study another subject entirely and most times, The parents’ choices are not in alignment with the students’ interests and personalities. There is a story of a popular Senior Advocate in Nigeria who wants his boy to become a lawyer like him, the boy eventually studied law but he is now one of the celebrities in the entertainment industry. This kind of example abounds in our society today in different forms. There are some parents too who want their children to do certain professions so that such could inherit and continue the family business not minding whether the children have an aptitude for entrepreneurship or not.

2. Personal Disappointment in the past. A lot of parents, if given another chance, would want to live their lives again differently. Some abandoned their dreams for several reasons- the death of their parents or sponsors, lack of helpers, laziness, nonchalance attitude, having illiterate parents who don’t value education, et cetera. These same parents today, having seen the pain of not being educated or well-educated, and not living their dreams will go all the way in forcing their own children to achieve their dreams of the past. You could hear such parents telling their children that “I wanted to become a doctor and since I could not achieve that goal, then you must become one”. They are simply looking for ways to achieve their own personal dreams through their children. That’s a wrong approach to life. It may lead to frustrations for the child involved and ultimately bring heartaches for such a parent sooner or later.

3. Vainglory. Our society is filled with many people who derive pleasure and excessive attention from certain vanities of life. One of such is being labeled “Mama Doctor” or “Engineer this or Barrister that.” This is because we give undue attention to titles and wealth in this part of the world. Whether the titleholder is an intellectual or not, or whether the source of the person’s wealth is known or not, people don’t really care. Hence, parents who are delusional by mere titles or who derive pleasure from unnecessary attention or being ‘respected’ would go to any extent of forcing their children to study certain courses that confer ‘respect’ on people in our society such as Medicine, Engineering, Law, Architecture, et cetera. Many students and professionals have lost their bearings due to this. Some students are struggling on various campuses today, due to a lack of capacity or interest for a particular field of study imposed on them by their parents and guardians. Some had to engage in examination malpractices or bribe lecturers for good grades to cover up for their inabilities. There are several graduates today who cannot boast of their certificate or even defend it just for this reason.

4. Economic status. Related to the point above is the economic status which is one major reason why parents force their children to go for particular professions. Some parents consider certain careers a taboo to their economic status while some see a particular field of study as a boost to their status in society. There are parents who out of ignorance sometimes, hope some lucrative courses will promote their family status economically, hence, they do all they can to force their children to study such. Some parents believe their children can never be successful in life economically unless they study courses like medicine, law, or engineering. They have forgotten that there are many poor medical doctors, lawyers, and engineers in our society. There are some lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants who have vowed that their children must follow the same line of their profession because they believe such professions will guarantee their children financial success. The fact is success or wealth is not limited to particular fields or professions. The realities of the modern world have proved that with the right idea backed with science and technology, one can make sense with any career he or she chooses to pursue. As a matter of fact, I believe any profession can produce wealth if the person involved can add innovative ideas to such.

In conclusion, it is important parents sincerely ask themselves whether the reason for insisting on a particular course of study is not based on a selfish motive or other wrong ones as highlighted above. Parents must realize there is more to life than possessing certificates in some ‘juicy’ courses or bearing a particular title within the society. God has designed everyone for a purpose and with different innate abilities, aptitudes, temperaments, personalities, and interests. Our role as parents lies more in helping those children discover, develop and deploy their gifts to serve humanity. That is where their fulfillment (including success and wealth) lies. Imagine if Bill Gates of Microsoft, Mark Zuckerberg the founder of Facebook, or professor Wole Soyinka had all been forced to go for professions outside their interests and desires, it’s unlikely we wouldn’t hear about their ‘exploits’ today around the world. Many dreams have chattered and others buried by discouraging teenagers and youths from pursuing their passions and dreams. Such a practice needs to stop henceforth, so we can have a society filled with fulfilled human beings, daily pursuing their passions whether it’s teaching, sports, catering, engineering, coding or even preaching!

Watch out for my next article on “the roles of parents in guiding their children towards a successful career.

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About the author

Olusegun Akinade

Olusegun Akinade is an author, entrepreneur, blogger, career coach, HSE advocate, public speaker and youth coach per excellence. His first book; "Me and My Future Career" is a bestseller amongst Pre-University students and in secondary schools at large.

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