As the mother of four teenagers (ages 19, 17, 16, 14), helping them feel positive about the future can be a big undertaking! Not only are we dealing with hormones, the change in the employment landscape means many differences from when I was their age as well. They have all had paper routes, dog walking gigs, and snow shoveling jobs to build their bank accounts and having your own money at any age is a very good thing!

A good number of jobs nowadays are not long term, many are contract or temporary so there isn’t job security and there are so many job seekers of all age groups and experience levels. According to this article in the Financial Post, “Youth unemployment today is nearly 15%, which is about twice the overall Canadian level.”

Our youth, this is based on ages 18 to 24, are stressing about their future. Many supplement income with credit cards and there is an increasing number moving back in with their parents.

So how do we help them see and experience a bright future?

Talk about it! Help them focus on exactly what it is they want to do.

Where do they want to work? What skills do they want to use? What are their goals in the next 3 to 5 years? (this helps decide some direction now.)

Take opportunities as they arise – Sure the job at Tim Horton’s or seasonal help at Coles book store may not be a long term solution, it does get them out in the work force … meeting people, learning new things, and every thing we do is a lesson which guides us onto the next stage of our life.

Consider working for themselves – This is an area we are looking at with our children. I started my own business 15 years ago, and haven’t looked back! Each of us has skills and abilities that can become a business. For example, our 17 year old is amazing with his hands and any tools, and he is not a people person while his 19 year old brother is a social magnet who could sell you just about anything … so they could partner in a business that includes both of their loves, while they support each other and earn some money.

Share in their journey – Celebrate the interview even if they did not get the job (so much can be learned), the part-time jobs that allowed them to buy the $100 pair of jean, and the money earned by shoveling the neighbour’s driveway. Support them when challenges arise as well, just talking about it gives them the opportunity to find resolution and decide how to proceed.

The future will seem brighter and more in our control if we can each take responsibility for ourselves and the generations to come!

Pam Christie

Future Vision Guide