My Parents Are Doctors So Should I Be One as Well?

Choosing your career can be a daunting task for anyone of any age. But it can be especially daunting if you’re a young person with big shoes to fill. If your parents are successful in revered industries like law or medicine—you might feel pressure to follow in their path. What you ultimately choose to do is up to you. In order to help you navigate your decision, here we will discuss the effect of parental influence on career choice.

What the effect of parental influence on career choice?


Firstly, that influence you’re feeling definitely isn’t some imaginary force. Studies have shown that parents exert much influence over their children’s career decisions. In a report from Kansas State University, it states that “parental influence upon their children‘s career choice is consistently important, even across gender and racial lines.” This influence is even stronger than the influence of teachers and peers, making it especially concentrated and hard to ignore. In other words, the effect of parental influence on career choice is unavoidable.

The kinds of parental career influence one receives can also vary widely. Perhaps you’re in a situation like the one mentioned in the title of this article, and your parents are doctors urging youto follow in their prestigious path. This is certainly the most intense kind of pressure, as the options feel very narrow. If you don’t want to follow in the same path, you should talk to your parents—but more on that later.

Another kind of parental career pressure comes in the opposite form: discouragement. This essentially means that your parents do NOT want you to follow in your footsteps. We hear this a lot when famous people are talking about their children. They hope their kids will never be actors. But, the side of the effect of parental influence on career choice isn’t even always directly related to parents’ careers. Sometimes, it’s because your parents want the world to see how great you are through your job.

Talking to your parents

When considering how to handle the effect of parental influence on career choice, you have one of two options: follow what your parents have told you to do, or don’t. Choosing to follow in your parents’ path should be because you genuinely have an interest in that field. In either case—especially if you’re choosing to ignore your parents—it’s essential to sit them down and talk it out.

While there are some inflexible parents, most only care bout your career because they want you to be happy. Many parents only see one or two paths in life, which is precisely why they push you towards it. So if you’re hoping to follow a different path, your number one goal when talking to your parents needs to be making them understand that you DO have a viable path—it just might be different than they were expecting.

Most parents will begin to loosen up a little, as they will see that you’re interested immensely in something. If you’re anticipating your parents’ ideas to remain unchanged, I suggest you arrive at your conversation with some proof of your devotion, or some plan of interest. This could be some research about the careers of those who have already walked your desired path, or it could be some short testimony from teachers highlighting your ability in what you wish to do. Or it could also be a precise plan of action, with a failsafe that will help your parents get on board. If your parents are especially rigid, laying out a trial and error plan—say, trying your desired career path for a year of college, and then switching if it doesn’t go well.

Whatever you decide to do, know that your parents simply want the best for you. Even when you feel like they’re applying to much pressure, remember that they’re doing so just because they care. But also remember that this is your life, and you deserve to own it.

About the Author

Cassidy A.

Cassidy A.

Cassidy A. is an experienced English tutor at Gooroo, a tutoring membership that matches students to tutors perfect for them based on their unique learning needs. Gooroo offers math, English, ESL, Spanish tutoring, and more.