Family Influences on Employment and Education
The influence of family on occupational and educational attainment has been a subject of great interest to vocational and career educators and researchers alike. As is evident from a literature review done by Otto and Call (1985), researchers in such diverse fields as child development, sociology, demography, and career development have long recognized that families play a major role in shaping their children's educational and career decisions. Only when career educators understand the nature and extent of the family's influence on employment and education can they develop effective strategies for helping parents help their children make appropriate and satisfying career and educational choices. This digest summarizes information about the family's influence on employment and education and describes intervention strategies for practitioners and parents to use in assisting youth in reaching their full educational and employment potential.
How Does the Family Influence Ocupational/Educational Attainment and Choice?
Splete and Freeman-George (1985) list the following significant family influence factors that affect a child's career and educational decisions: (1) geographic location, (2) genetic inheritance, (3) family background, (4) socioeconomic status, (5) family composition, (6) parenting style, and (7) parent work-related attitudes. Whereas the first four of these factors have a strong influence on a child's physical and mental abilities, education and employment opportunities, and financial resources, the last three have a profound effect on a child's personality type, preference for certain types of interpersonal relationships, work attitudes, and willingness to pursue a non-traditional career.
It is also important to remember that the career development process begins long before the adult years. McDaniel and Hummel (1984) discuss the career development process in terms of three phases: awareness (before age 11), exploration (ages 11 to 17), and preparation (age 17 to young adulthood). In her study of the family-career connection, Miller (1984) discusses career development in terms of a process beginning in the preschool years and reviews the effects of parents as role models in the career decisions of sons and daughters.
Reprinted with the permission of the Education Resources Information Center.
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