Father: “My 16-year-old daughter doesn’t feel very at home on her MBO education, but she also doesn’t know what she wants to do then, so she stays. She is doing a theater course that she finds a bit too artistic. She’s talented enough, but she’s not sure she’ll want to work there in the future.
“My offer to look at other further courses together is rejected, because she wants to find out herself, but I see no concrete action. The school year is already coming to an end, there is time pressure, as long as we are not too late already. I’m afraid nothing will happen and she’ll just move on to year two and nothing will change.
“Is it bad that she does a course that doesn’t quite fit? Should I intervene and have her take a career choice test, for example, or let her figure it out herself?”
Marga Akkerman: “Education in the Netherlands is organized in such a way that young people have to choose. In 16-year-olds, however, the development of talents and self-knowledge still goes in all directions. It is therefore too much to ask of your daughter to make a choice for the future now. In addition, 16-year-olds often think that once you have a job, you will do the same job until you retire. That idea makes choosing the right education even more difficult.
“Your daughter can benefit a lot from continuing this theater education. What she learns there, such as public speaking, being able to empathize with all kinds of people, and performing in a team, are generally useful social skills. Given her young age, that basis is more important than the question of what she will ever do with it.
“The fact that she wants to make her own decisions could indicate that she does not want pressure on her learning process. Don’t be too results-oriented. Curiosity and the desire to develop are also important when choosing education and work. That can also be an attitude to life.”
Be a sparring partner
Jelle Jolles: „It is normal that your daughter does not yet fully know what she wants, given her age she has not yet gained enough experience for that. It is most important that she continues to orient herself broadly and gain experience. Moving on to the second year seems to me to be a good opportunity for her to further orientate herself. Other choices are a plunge into the deep end, and you don’t know if she can swim in that deep. She can make more appropriate choices at a later time. She could do a course in something she also likes.
“A career choice test makes little sense for a hesitant 16-year-old. Such a test does not bring out a kind of ‘core interest’. She still has to develop it completely.
“Many young people who go to college don’t know where to look. The danger of hopping from one study to another is huge. Parents are very important in this process for a child’s thought formation. Ask non-judgmental questions, indicate what she has liked to do since childhood, point out the various training options available, talk to her about the consequences of a choice, such as: what will my day look like later on ? As a sparring partner, not to push a child in a certain direction.”