Young female holding her head due to stress

I can’t talk to my parents about career goals because they have my future planned out for me.


My parents put a lot of pressure on me. As a brown kid, they have high expectations of me because I am their only child. They want to see me become a doctor but I don’t want to become a doctor. I am graduating university in 2 years. 

I am scared I will not be able to follow through with my own dreams. I feel like my future has been planned out and I have no option but to pursue it. My parents never asked me what I want to do. 

I sometimes wish someone could guide me in the right direction and believe in me.  

They want to see me become a doctor, but I don’t want to become a doctor.


Youth are struggling to talk to their parents

“Talking to my parents about my future, like career choices.” 

“Career planning because some kids don’t know what they want to do.” 

“They never ask me what I want to do – they always wanted me to become a doctor/police officer.” 


As a parent, caregiver, or other supportive adult


Have open communication and get expert advice when needed. "Children are always changing their mind, so support them with whatever career they choose. If your child and you have different career choices, reach out for an expert's opinion. Bring in a third party, for instance, a professional to help guide your approach towards your child. Sometimes parents need someone to intervene to provide a different process of communication. An expert could be any third party the youth trusts – a coach, counsellor, etc."

— Tejinder Gill, Coordinator, South Asian Family Strengthening Team (SAFST)

Sarjeet Purewal, Family Counsellor, South Asian Family Strengthening Team (SAFST)

Recognize the pressure placed on your child. "Recognize that, today, there is a lot more pressure on children to reach career goals set by parents. This affects their mental and physical health especially if they know they can never pursue what they want and will never be successful being pushed down the path to impress you. We also need to realize that the world of work has changed and is constantly changing, therefore, open your mind and keep biases to the side. Both parents and youth should talk to someone in the field of interest—conduct informational interviews or ask to job shadow. Help your child to know what they want to do and what they don’t want to do. This will bring some clarity for both of you and potentially strengthen your relationship."

— Richard Tatomir, Clinical Counsellor and Professor, Simon Fraser University

Support your child's interests. "Career choices can be so difficult, especially when we are feeling pressure around it! These pressures can come from many places such as family, culture and social expectations. I can say from personal experience, I experienced cultural pressure around my career, and this carried into University. My advice to children is to follow your dream, whatever career you choose. When you see your children happy, working hard towards their goals, you will also follow. Just remember, that your future belongs to your children and, at the end of the day, it’s their life to live. Parents want to see their children succeed but your child should have the ability to choose a career that interests them." 

— Maya Bhogal, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Surrey