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How can I stop my parents from expecting me to follow their career advice rather than what I want to do?

24 Answers
Last Updated: 02/10/2020 at 8:33am
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
Moderated by

Christie Belle, Master of Arts in Marriage and Family Therapy


I am a U.S. Air Force veteran and a ex-Army spouse. I am a divorced mother of two teenage boys, my youngest son has a diagnosis of autism, which I am very passionate about.

Top Rated Answers
January 12th, 2015 1:36am
My father want me to become an engineer, but I love literature and I feel like I should work with that. Well, it is not easy. You can remember that you can't live up to anyone's expectations. Even your parents' . I know that disobeying seems wrong and perhaps disrespectful, but it will be necessary. Do what you love and what inspires you. Your parents may expect you to follow their career advice, maybe for sometime, and you will have to live with it. Talk to them about your decision and know that maybe its not possible to change their thinking. You can't get in a person's head. I know you love your parents and want their approval, but you have to stand up for yourself. I love literature and I know my father devalues my degree and thinks and maybe won't change his thinking, but I have to do what I love and what I believe in. Respect is a 2 way street. If your parents don't respect your career decision, you don't have to obbey and follow their advice.
June 6th, 2015 8:55am
Hi there! I would suggest that you sit them down and have a mature conversation with them. They may not know how you feel, therefore if you try to express yourself to them they may understand. This is a very common problem nowadays, so just know that you're not alone! It also really depends what age you are, as if you're young then your parents might not want you to make a mistake. If your old enough however, then talking to them would be the best idea. You could also give evidence of why the career path you chose is good by showing them a website or even making a power point! Trying to persuade your parents to stop them making you follow their career advice varies, as all parents are different. Some are easier to persuade, and some are harder. As I don't know you or them very well, all I can suggest is talking with them. I hope you have a great day.
September 29th, 2015 5:15am
Just go on to follow the career you want. And someday they will realize that you have reached an irreversible point in your career and that you can't switch career at that point in life. Then they will have no option but to stop expecting you to follow their career advice, and will have to accept you for whatever career you followed.
February 15th, 2015 9:34pm
It is often difficult, because a lot of parents really want the best for their children and want them to grow into a secure career with many prospects. But it is your life and if you have a goal, that is different to what they want from you, then you need to do what makes you happy and explain that to them.
April 24th, 2015 9:15am
You can let them know that you'll consider their advice and explore different options, then make a choice based on what you think will be best for you. They need to know that their advice isn't going to be ignored, that they will be heard. But, at the end, you have to make sure you do what makes you happy. It's the only way you'll stay happy whilst doing what you're doing.
May 16th, 2015 5:17pm
being direct and talking to them straight about the fact that it bothers you can help a lot if the choose to actually listen
June 30th, 2015 11:00pm
Well, first you have to respect their decision. They indeed only want the best for you. If they see that you respect them and their wishes, they will (hopefully) respect you to decide for yourself. If everything else fails, work hard to reach your goals and don't expect other people to do it for you.
August 3rd, 2015 10:34am
They cant be stopped, just avoid them. 20 Years from now you will be the only one responsible, so do what you want to do.
August 11th, 2015 2:08am
The biggest thing that you can do is to just follow what you want to do. Eventually they'll be okay with it.
October 26th, 2015 3:17am
I know it can be easy to say but... Talk to them. Let them know what you want to do and what it would do to you to become what they want you to become vs what you want to become. Parents are sometimes scared of the opportunities their child will have in their chosen career. To counter this do your research get informed on what you want to do and also, show them that you are an independent person with independent thoughts. If this fails try to get someone they value and hold in high esteem to talk to them in your favour. It can be your grand-ma, an advisor, a spiritual leader, etc.
January 4th, 2016 11:05pm
Maybe you could try to sit down calmly and speak to them. Explain to them that this is very important to you. And that following this career path isn't going to make you happy. Even include what career move would make you happy, tell them your dreams and ideas and what it is you would like to do and the steps your willing to do to make this work.
March 22nd, 2016 2:06pm
Try telling them that what you really want to do will make you happy even if it is path that seems difficult and impossible at the moment. But of you were to follow their career advice and do what they want then you will never be as fulfilled or as happy as you could have been. You want a certain meaning from your life and your career and it can be achieved by your own plan not your parents. They want what is best for you and they want to provide you with a better future then they had at your age but pushing their views on a life for you will do nothing for you in the long run.
April 5th, 2016 4:15am
Parents will be parents and they want what they think is best for you. Explain to them that you want to follow your own path, you don't want to set out on their ideals/goals, and if they love you, they should respect you for that.
May 23rd, 2016 4:16am
Try to sit down and have a talk with them. Tell them what do you want to do, and convince them that you know what you are doing. Many times, parents believe that they give their children the best advice because they have been through more in life, and they feel that they understand their children. However, that may not be the case and you, as their child, can respectfully tell them that you have your own path to choose and take.
July 26th, 2016 9:07am
You can expect your parents from expecting you to follow their career advice by having your own career plan and constantly working to your career goals. If you do this you have more confidence and conviction when questioned about what you want to do with your life.
August 22nd, 2016 7:07am
Explain to your parents, the profits and advantages in your career. Start off by explaining to them, why you choose to take that career. Then tell the more about the career, the scope, the earnings. Tell them you wanna do something that you are interested in. Then explain why you don't want their career path. If they're supportive, they'll understand.
October 17th, 2016 1:58am
By letting them know that it's not what you want to do and telling them how it makes you feel that their expecting this from you. Let them know what you actually want or if you're undecided, but at the end of the day it's your future, you're life, and your decision.
April 10th, 2017 5:07pm
Try to sit with them and talk about it together ! I'm sure, they want you to be happy, so they let you choose and do what you think is the best. Just not be afraid, you won't solve anything !
July 24th, 2017 3:28pm
Talk to them nicely. Tell them you have an alternative career path in mind. Ask them for their full support instead of going against them by shouting or even speaking disrespectfully. You may have tried telling them a hundred million times about your career path, and if that don't work, try another million times again until they start supporting you. Be patient.
August 13th, 2018 7:17pm
Be you don't let anyone tell you what path to take or how've to control your life because your the one living it so you do what you feel you should do and always follow your heart
September 18th, 2018 3:37am
Personally, I'd just talk to them. They do this because they love you, they're hearts are in the right place..but they just need to know. So I would try to talk with them, calmly and have a heart to heart. When this happens. Go in with confidence, you know that it's the best thing you can do in that situation. If they don't get it. They don't get it. You can't control how they feel you can always control how you feel. So if they are still cranky just know that they love you, and its not your fault. With love, Katie
April 16th, 2019 11:51am
Speak to your parents about how you feel, sit them down and have a discussion. Try to tell them your ambitions and dreams and perhaps your career of choice. Remember to be honest with them. Respectfully tell them that you don’t want to follow their career advice but instead what you want to do. Maybe do some research, let them know how serious you are about it and how strongly you feel. I’m sure they’ll understand and support you if you express your feelings and wishes, they are still your parents and should love and support you no matter what.
December 23rd, 2019 6:09am
It would be best to tell them how passionately you are to your own desired career—that you would definitely grow the person you want to be and fully when you are under the things you desire from the very beginning. Things would become difficult in your part if you follow their career, after all. Just let them see how passionate and serious you are in achieving that dream of yours. They will definitely see that, soon! Just keep on holding on to your dreams because it is your life after all; you are the driver of your life alone.
February 10th, 2020 8:33am
It may help you to explain why something is important to you, or why your path is what you've chosen! A lot of the time, our parents just want the best for us, so accepting something other than their plan can be difficult for them! Talking, and explaining your situation and your values and goals can be a great starting point to creating understanding so that they can understand why your goals are so important! Bridging the gap can be daunting, but if you are having trouble and need someone to listen, you can use us listeners like a soundboard to help clarify your own thoughts!