(For students) Talking to parents about ECG
Prepare the setting
If you find it hard to initiate conversations in-person, you can try texting too!
“I'd like to talk about unis. Is this a good time?”
“I'd like to talk about unis. When’s a good time?”
Do some research
About your options
If you can anticipate your parents' potential concerns or ideas, do some research to find out how real and up-to-date these are
Eg. Parents may have worries based on their own experience from the past but there may have been new developments that have made these worries outdated, or they could think highly of certain occupations that are now no longer as attractive.
“What do you like/dislike about your job?”
“I did a profiling test and these were my results.”
Know what you want out of the convo
What do you want from your parents?
Listen & understand
Give permission & support
Offer advice & help
“I have some uni ideas, but I need you to just listen okay? Don't give me advice — I just want you to know what I’m thinking about.”
“I need to get your opinion on uni funding and whether going overseas is feasible.”
“I need your advice about something. Do you have time to talk?”
Be clear and direct
Use simple and straightforward language
State the “because”
Verbalise your parents’ wishes
“I am interested in engineering, but I’m not decided yet. I still need to find out more about... ”
“I know you’re afraid I won’t get a (well-paying) job.”
“Are you worried I cannot take care of myself overseas?”
Be curious and flexible
Even if you don't agree with everything your parents say, listen and try to understand their point of view.
“Why do you think this course/career suits me?”
“What do you think a uni education should be for?”
(For parents) Resources from MOE
(For parents) Supporting your child's ECG journey
Be curious about them, their motivations and aspirations.
Listen and acknowledge their point of view and feelings about their future before jumping in to offer your own.
Share about your own education & career experiences and those of other people you know.
This can help your child get an idea of what the working world is like and how it differs from school.
Eg. Hearing about someone's unexpected but successful mid-career change could mentally prepare them for twists and turns in their own journey and be more calm and adaptable in an uncertain job market.
Eg. Hearing about how someone got a job through connections can help them understand how employers have many considerations other than school grades.
If possible, try to help your child connect with people in careers or industries that they are interested in. Encourage your child to explore platforms like LinkedIn where they can reach out even to strangers to ask questions.
Eg. If your child is interested in journalism, it would be helpful if they could talk to a journalist or someone in the media industry. Through asking questions and hearing first-hand experiences, they may confirm their interests or decide it is not for them after all.
Let your child take ownership and responsibility for their education & career journey.
For many children, micromanaging (such as keeping track of their deadlines or checking their applications) or adding on stress can be unhelpful. Give them some space and trust.
If your child seems unmotivated, uninterested, or simply unsure about how to start exploring education & career options, you could prompt them to set some goals for themselves and to think about concrete steps they could take by specific deadlines.
(For parents) Developing 21st Century Skills for the Post-Pandemic world
Notes from talk delivered by Prof. Shanton Chang on 8 May 2023
Soft skills are important.