How to ensure your adolescent does not join the increasing herd of jobless college graduates ending up back home

Posted on Mar 24, 2016

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Scary Fact:  Nationally, while a quarter of 25-year-olds live with their parents back in 1999, by 2013 half of young adults live in their parent’s home.

There is a mound of statistics which you need to recognize which require parents to be far more proactive than they have ever been if you want your adolescent to graduate with a job in hand.  I talk about this in a movie I recently produced which you can watch here.  (If you have a high school adolescent or are a unhappy professional seeking a more meaningful career, I will be hosting a free college and career information night, and you can click here if you wish to attend this 6 p.m.. event on April 14, 2016).

While various kinds of research (and over 100 news stories) has been done on the reasons why the prevalence of college graduates ending up back at home is increasing at such an alarming rate, the real question for parents is…

…what action plan can YOU formulate to ensure YOUR adolescent does not end up back at home.

After working with adolescents, students, early career adults, and their families, for over a decade, here are the necessary steps and timeline I see the most intelligent families following:

by the time the child is in middle school, they are regularly doing chores which is one of the earliest ways to teach a strong work ethic.  This is a CORE way to help establish a work ethic, but participation in sports, community activities, and performance in school are also ways to facilitate the internalization of a strong work ethic.

by seventh or eighth grade, parents work with their adolescent who undergoes appropriate kinds of vocational assessment and experiences such that they choose a high school that is appropriately tailored to their profile of strengths and weaknesses.  Their choice of a high school is also driven by key areas of awareness of the adolescent, including particular technical, intellectual, and/or academic interest the adolescent has.  With the dizzying array of high school education options these days, including online courses, you cannot afford to be the “lazy parent” and simply have your child attend the local school.  You need to work with your adolescent to make educational choices that truly represent the best fit.

By early high school, you begin the process of having your adolescent undergo vocational assessment.  THis process involves penetrating the adolescents “bubbles.” Ideally, this can even occur in seventh or eighth grade, because social science research shows your child interests do not suddenly manifest in high school; the roots of their deepest passions, inborn aptitudes, and environmental preferences are already present in seventh and eighth grade.  While high school guidance counselors can play a key role in vocational assessment processes, it is important for you to understand that credible vocational profiling is comprehensive in nature and involves profiling of natural inclinations, talents, aptitudes, deep set motivations, interpersonal tendencies, and environmental needs, etc.  School guidance counselors do not have time to carry out all the components of this process, but they can help.

But for a career marriage (and life journey) to be successful, a student’s patterns must be deeply synchronized to their environment.

To discover educational or career pathways that are deeply synchronized to you or your child, one must account for the vast array of entrenched patterns in the each unique human work personality.

By the end of freshman year of high school parents have had their adolescent complete vocational assessment such that sophomore and part of junior year of high school can involve that adolescent exploring particular career pathways through the following: deep research into the training necessary to work in an occupation, informational interviewing, job shadowing, and internships.

By the middle of junior year of high school, the adolescent and their parents have a very clear idea about the adolescent’s “sweet spot”; the area where there deepest motivations and passions, inborn aptitudes, technical skills, environmental needs, and interpersonal preferences all converge.  I talk about the sweet spot in this movie that I have developed to explain the process I have students and professionals go through in order to discover their sweet spot.

When the sweet spot is discovered by the middle of junior high school, then the adolescent and parents can decide what the best next step is. It is not necessarily college, it could be going to a technical school (for example, if a person has giftedness in computers or a very narrow interest in them) a or going directly into an apprenticeship for a particular trade such as becoming an electrician.

By the end of Junior year of high school, the educational pathway is chosen and then deep exploration is conducted for what educational institutions will best serve the needs of the adolescence vocational profile.  This ensures the best value and most realistic fit will be discovered, which ensures your family will avoid making emotionally or financially traumatizing or at the very least painful mistakes such as choosing the wrong college major and/or the wrong college.  Sometimes, parents rush to having their children go to college when there are better options.

–Before the students steps foot on a college, vocational, or technical school campus, or before they start a post high school online curriculum, they know their exact occupational direction and have a clear roadmap.

For more free information please feel free to visit my website, where I offer a large amount of information about college and career guidance:

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Meet the Behavior Science Expert

Dr. Tom Brunner is a compassionate guidance counselor, behavioral science expert, and published research scientist. His main mission is to utilize the very best tools to give people uniquely hand tailored, impactful, and durable solutions to their pressing educational or career challenges. View the Overview of his college and career matching process. You may view his portfolio here. He has worked in-the-trenches with all walks of life, from mentoring struggling students to helping gifted/talented adolescents and adults professionals accelerate their development. He is an innovator who has received awards from the Early Career Psychologist Award (by the Arizona Psychological Foundation) as well the Society for Personality Assessment. Dr. Brunner is senior author of a behavioral science measurement tool adapted into 11 languages. He is author of numerous presentations and peer reviewed scientific articles, sometimes alongside leading experts. As a PhD Board Licensed Psychologist, he has served as an expert witness in the legal arena, and has been consulted by local (Tucson Electric Power) and nationwide organizations. To read his bio, click here, read his resume here.

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