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The facilitation of career development of adolescents with parental involvement in a structured program Pierson, Brian Michael 1988-09-08

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THE FACILITATION OF CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF ADOLESCENTS WITH PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN A STRUCTURED PROGRAM By BRIAN M. PIERSON B.A. NORTHWEST COLLEGE, 1982 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Counselling Psychology) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA JUNE 19 88 © Brian M. Pierson, 1988 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of £AOAJ SC^^l M L ^Sjej^dC^ The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) ii ABSTRACT This study was concerned with developing and exploring a reasonably comprehensive scheme o£ categories which describes, from the perspective of adolescents, what facilitates their career development during the process of participating in the Partners Program. The critical incidents Technique was used to elicit 302 Incidents from nine dyads. Each dyad consisted of a parent and their high school adolescent. This study took place over a four-month period, and after completion of the program, the participants were interviewed individually to determine the events that facilitated the career development of the adolescent. Sixteen categories emerged from the incidents reported. Reliability was suggested by two independent raters who showed 100% agreement in categorization. Participation rate varying from 44% - 61% indicated the soundness of these categories. From an examination of the findings, theories surfaced from the categories that reflected the threefold aim of the Partners Program. Firstly it fosters career development by increasing self-awareness, career awareness and decision and planning capabilities. Secondly, it strengthens the family support network. Thirdly, it enables the adolescent to make better use of career resources and programs. It Is suggested that there is a potency in family relationships in career counselling which could be a powerful ally for the professional counsellor. iii TABLE OF CONTENTS ABSTRACT i i TABLE OF CONTENTS iii LIST OF TABLES vACKNOWLEDGEMENTS viCHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION 1 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY 2 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDYSIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY 5 OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY 6 CHAPTER II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 8 THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF PARENT-CHILD CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 8 CAREER DEVELOPMENT THEORYPARENT-CHILD RELATIONS 10 FAMILY INFLUENCE ON THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF THE ADOLESCENT 11 PARENT-CHILD CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND THEIR EFFECTIVENESS 12 THE PARTNERS PROGRAM AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS 15 REVIEW OF THE CRITICAL INCIDENTS TECHNIQUE 6 CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY 20 SUBJECTSPROCEDURE 22 THE CRITICAL INCIDENTS INTERVIEW .... 22 iv CHAPTER III. (continued) THE INTERVIEW 23 CATEGORIZATION 4 INDEPENDENT RATERS' CATEGORIZATION .... 26 CHAPTER V. RESULTS 28 CATEGORIES 9 RELIABILITY 36 INCIDENT FREQUENCY 3CATEGORIES PARTICIPATION RATE 37 CASE STUDY 41 CHAPTER VI. DISCUSSION 4 STATEMENT OF THE RESULTS 4 4 LIMITATIONS AND QUALIFICATIONS OF THE STUDY 4 8 PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS . 49 SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH 50 SUMMARY 5REFERENCES 52 APPENDICES A. A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO THE PARTNERS PROGRAM 56 B. CHURCH BULLETIN INSERT 59 C. LETTER TO PARENT 60 D. LETTER TO ADOLESCENT 61 E. ACTIVITY SELF-EXPLORATION WORKBOOK 62 F. CAREER GRID WORKBOOK 64 V APPENDICES (continued) G. PLANNING WORKBOOK 66 H. PARENT CAREER GUIDANCE MANUAL .... 68 vl LIST OF TABLES TABLE 1. FREQUENCY & PERCENTAGE OF REPORTED INCIDENTS WITHIN EACH CATEGORY 38 TABLE 2. NO. OF REPORTED INCIDENTS IN EACH CATEGORY AS REPORTED BY PARENTS & ADOLESCENTS 39 TABLE 3. PERCENTAGE OF SUBJECTS REPORTING INCIDENTS IN EACH CATEGORY 40 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Larry Cochran whose enthusiasm, guidance and reassurance helped immensely as we walked through this study together. In addition, I would like to express my gratitude to my friends and church family at Christian Life Assembly. As I proceeded, their prayers, encouragement, participation, support and patience helped me to keep going. Special thanks to Lori, Brent, Bonnie and the nine families involved in this research. Finally, I would like to thank my wife Julie and my three sons Owen, Brock and Preston. They sacrificed their time and our family time to see me through. We all share in the joy of completing the task. Without their continual love and support this would not have been possible. 1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The aim of this study is to identify the kind of events that facilitate the adolescent's perceived career maturity during the process of the Partners Program (Cochran 1985). Research has shown that students have difficulty explaining how they make their career decisions (Anderson, Mawby, Olson, 1965; Trudeau-Brosseau, Brosseau, Cahrette, Boissiere, 1982). Parents would like to help their children in this career planning but report that they do not know how (Lea, 1976; Bratcher, 1982; Brighouse, 1985). Their uncertainty is singularly unfortunate, given the fact that children expect their parents to be the primary individuals who influence and help with career plans (Blrk 1979, Mitchell, 1978). Other parent-child programs have been attempted: "The Career Conversation" (Osguthorpe, 1976) was developed to help parents work with their children in career planning, and "The Career Development Partnership" (Myers, 1979) was developed to increase the parent's awareness of the impact they have on the career decision-making processes of their children. The few parent-child programs that currently exist offer little empirical evidence of their effectiveness (Anderson et al, 1965; Lea, 1976; osguthorpe, 1976; Greenough, 1976; Thompson, 1978). One indication 2 o£ their utility, however, seems to be that parents welcome the assistance. Research conducted by Palmer and Cochran (1987) on the Partners Program found that this parent-child program had a significant impact on the career development of the adolescent. It demonstrated that the Partners Program was effective, but did not indicate the kind of specific process events that helped during the program. The discovery of process events during a parent-child career program could facilitate an understanding of why the program is effective. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY This study was concerned with developing a reasonably comprehensive scheme of categories to explore how a program designed for parents to assist their adolescents in career planning facilitates the adolescent's perceived career maturity during the program. This empirical investigation aims to determine the significant career planning events that occur during the process of the Partners Program. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY The Partners Program has shown its effectiveness in the pilot study and further research on 20 families by Palmer (1986). Its use has enhanced family cohesion between partners, and there seems to be a significant gain in the 3 career development of the participating adolescent (Palmer & Cochran 1987). The program, "Helping Your Child Set a Career Direction: The Partners Program" (Cochran 1985), consists of a Parent Career Guidance Manual (Cochran 1985a) and three workbooks: Activity self-Exploration workbook (Cochran & Amundson, 1985), Career Grid Workbook (Cochran 1985b) and a Planning workbook (Cochran 1985c). Each workbook is comprised of a number of units and each unit is completed by the parent and child who work together to accomplish career tasks. It is the parent's primary role to facilitate and encourage the adolescent in the completion of each task. Cochran (1985) asserts that The Partners Program is based upon two kinds of theory—parent-child relationships and the career development of the adolescent. Research related to the first type of theory has demonstrated that parents, the primary figures of adolescents, have great influence on the choice of a child's career (Bratcher, 1982; Osipow, 1983; Schulenberg, Vondracek & Crouter, 1984). Bronfenbrenner's (1979) model of human development stresses the quality of human relationships, and the author (Cochran 1985) uses It to explain the relational portion of his program. According to Bronfenbrenner, the quality of a dyadic relationship is progressive. The simplest form is an 'observational' dyad, where two persons pay attention to one another. At the next level, a 'joint activity' dyad, two 4 persons work together in a common activity. The highest level is a 'primary' dyad, and consists of two persons who have enduring feelings for one another and continue to influence each other even when apart. Bronfenbrenner's view is that as partners move from the lowest level (observational dyad) to the highest level (primary dyad), the developmental impact of a relationship will be enhanced. In the Partners Program, parents are instructed in their manual to work towards realizing the conditions of a primary dyad. The workbook tasks were designed to facilitate the 'paying attention', 'perspective-taking', 'discussion' and •cooperation* aspects of a primary dyad (Palmer & Cochran 1987). The second theoretical basis for this program was derived from Super's (1957, 1963, 1980) theory of career development. According to Super, the conceptualization of a career is conceived through a progression of stages. To progress, an individual must complete career developmental tasks unique to each stage. The focus in the Partners Program is to crystallize, specify and implement a career choice. To complete these tasks, Super has identified specific behaviours and attitudes which are essential. He describes these to be planfulness, decision-making skills, exploration, Information acquisition and appraisal. The Partners Program emphasizes self and career exploration as well as decision-making competencies, and by doing so adds 5 support to the core developmental tasks in Super's theory. The program used in this study has integrated Bronfenbrenner's and Super's theories, both of which focus on the parent-adolescent for working on career tasks. The completion of career developmental tasks in a dyadic context allows for a strengthening of parent-child relationships. This assumes that a shift may occur from observational dyad to a higher level, which in turn is more apt to Improve the quality in which workbook exercises are done. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY Several parent-adolescent programs have been advanced in the past (Bearg, 1979; Lea, 1976; Thompson, 1978), and while most have shown positive parental reaction, there has been little evidence of the programs' effectiveness. Palmer and Cochran (1987) demonstrated that parents can function effectively in fostering the career development of their children when provided with a structured program, such as the Partners Program. However, they did not discover the significant features in the Partners Program that helped the adolescent to plan a career. The extraction of events through the Critical Incidents Technique (Flanagan 1954) provided a categorical framework to assist in supplying the provisional answer about how the Partners Program facilitates the career development of the adolescent. A 6 category scheme was developed in which the types of events that facilitate career development were described from the perspective of the adolescents themselves. The value of this scheme is that it offers a reasonably comprehensive basis for conceptualizing the adolescent's career development within the context of the Partners Program. The research offers a broader frame of reference capable of Integrating past research (Palmer & Cochran 1987), and also suggest a more comprehensive evaluation of the elements of the Partner's Program. Furthermore, it offers some guidance on how the category scheme could be used in the development and continued refinement of the Partners Program. The results clearly have an important heuristic value in exploring and validating the categories as well as the relationships between the categories. OVERVIEW OF THE STUDY An introduction to the study is found in Chapter 1. This includes a purpose and research question, a background to the study, and the significance of the research. Chapter 2 contains a review of the literature relevant to what features facilitate the career development of adolescents within the framework of a parent-child career guidance program. It also contains a review of the Critical Incidents Technique. Chapter 3 discusses the research design, specifically including the population and sample, 7 the Critical Incidents Technique, interview procedures, the method o£ recording and extracting incidents, categorization and rater reliability. Chapter 4 contains the results of the study and includes a description of the category schemes and reliability Issues. Chapter 5 concludes with a statement of the results, a discussion of the findings, comments on research limitations, practical implications, suggestions for further research, and a summary. 8 CHAPTER II REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Literature relevant to what facilitates the adolescent's perceived career development during the process of a parent-child program is reviewed in this chapter. The underlying theory and development of the Partners Program will be reviewed first. other parent-child programs attempted will be considered and research done on the Partners Program will be discussed. Finally, the Critical Incidents Technique will be reviewed, as a method that seems most suitable for identifying the kinds of events that facilitate career planning. THEORETICAL UNDERPINNINGS OF PARENT-CHILD CAREER DEVELOPMENT  PROGRAMS A review of the relevant literature suggests that there are two major theories that underlie the Involvement of the family in the adolescent's career planning. These two areas are career development theory and parent-child relations. CAREER DEVELOPMENT THEORY This study uses a program in which the authors base their theoretical underpinnings on Super's developmental theory (1957). According to Super (1980, 1984) the process of career development is lifelong and thus he focuses on 'developmental' theory. He describes this as a process that 9 has three clearly defined states: Fantasy, Tentative and Realistic which he bases on a model developed by Glnzberg, Ginsburg, Axelrad and Herma (1951). super views career choices as on-going, becoming more clear with age. Super's research, based on a longitudinal study (Career Pattern Study 1950-1971), involved 142 grade nine boys. This study seemed to help gain an understanding of vocational behaviour. Techniques to assess and predict vocational behaviour also emerged. From this, Super developed a basic assumption underlying the concept of career maturity: "vocational behaviour changes systematically in certain ways with increasing age" (p. 57). In this theory, a career is conceived as a progression through various stages. Career developmental tasks, unique to each stage, are completed in order to progress. Super (1957) identifies the vocational stages as: Growth (birth-14 years), Exploration (15-24 years), Establishment (25-44 years), Maintenance (45-64 years), and Decline (65 to death). The major focus of the Partners Program is on the exploration stage. In late adolescence and early adulthood the core tasks are crystallizing, specifying and implementing a career preference. Task completion requires the development of certain attitudes and competencies such as planfulness, decision-making, information gathering and appraisal, and an exploratory attitude. Self and career 10 exploration, planning and decision competencies are stressed within the Partner's Program which support the core developmental tasks of Super's theory (Palmer & Cochran 1987). PARENT-CHILD RELATIONS The second aspect of the Partners Program is based on Bronfenbrenner's (1979) theory of human development which stresses the quality of human relationships. Bronfenbrenner's theory is based on the impact of environmental interconnections on the developing person. He views development as how the person perceives and deals with his or her environment. Human development is defined as "progressive accommodation throughout the life span, between the growing organism and the changing environment in which it actually lives and grows" (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, p. 513). Bronfenbrenner's model (1979) consists of three systems. The microsystem (family), which is the immediate setting contains the developing person. The mesosystem which contains the microsystem and Its interrelations with settings beyond this (i.e. child and relationships at school, church, etc.). The exosystem contains events occurring in settings in which the developing person is not present (i.e.) sibling's place of employment. li As used in the Partners Program, Bronfenbrenner1s model provides a framework for understanding relationships in the microsystem. The quality of relationship is conceived through a progressive transformation of a dyad. In order for this to occur, there must be an established relationship. From here the dyad has the potential to evolve into a relationship that is progressively more complex. As discussed earlier in this study, there are three dyads postulated by Bronfenbrenner's model--Observational Dyad, in which two persons pay attention to each other's activities, Joint Activity Dyad, in which two persons work on common activities, and Primary Dyad, such as paying attention, discussion, perspective taking and cooperation (Palmer & Cochran 1987). This study partially reflects indications of movement from the joint activity dyad to the primary dyad and how this occurs in the process of the Partners Program. FAMILY INFLUENCE ON THE CAREER DEVELOPMENT OF THE ADOLESCENT Several studies indicate that family influence is the primary factor in career selection (Osipow, 1983; Birk, 1979; Mitchell, 1978; Roberts, 1979), but little research has been done on how this process is brought about. Osipow (1983) stated that since parents are the primary socializing agents in our society that they are in key positions to influence their children in all areas of human growth, including career development. Kleimer and Schoffner (1973) suggested four areas of parental Influence in career development: they serve as role models, motivators of children's interests and activities, as informers and as providers of environmental influence. In a study conducted by Burke (1979), children were asked who they thought had the most influence on their career growth. Their response was that both parents were influences. Even though it has been found that parents are a significant influence upon their children's career development (Grotivant & Cooper 1985) and would like to fulfill this role more effectively, there is little assistance for them (Osguthorpe 1976). The next section will look at some programs that are currently available. PARENT-CHILD CAREER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS AND THEIR  EFFECTIVENESS Few programs have been recently developed to help parents with the career development of their adolescents (Palmer 1986). The programs that currently exist have little empirical evidence of their effectiveness. This section will review the effectiveness of some other parent-child programs besides the one used in this study. The program, "Choices and Career: Free to Choose about Careers" (Thompson 1978) was designed to be used by American Indian parents and their adolescent daughters. It includes career opportunity information and obstacles these girls may face in finding work. There was no assessment done as to this program's success or effectiveness. The "Career Development Partnership" program (Myers 1979) was used on the Rhode Island Department of Education. It involved parents, students and schools In which the parents were involved in the career education of students at all school levels. Its goal was to increase parents' awareness of the Impact they have on the career decision making processes of their children. The success and effectiveness of the program was not assessed. The authors commented on how well received it was by parents as the only indicator of its effectiveness. The program, "The Career Conversation" (Osguthorpe 1976) was designed to help parents work with their children in career planning. A pilot study was done on thirty students in the ninth grade and their parents. This study's results were as follows: 1) In career choices, students expected parents to be most influential. 2) Prior to the program, parents felt ill-equipped to help children in their career choices. 3) Parents were probably most influential in the career decisions of their children, according to teachers, who recognized that counselling can also play a role in influencing students' career choices. Feedback from parents who participated was encouraging as to the program's effectiveness. The "Career Occupational Guide" (Anderson, Mawby & Olson 1965) was described as an action program for parents which was built on a "youth development" theme. This program sought to help parents and adolescents become aware of the connections between universities, government agencies, private business, industry and the work world. It's effectiveness was measured only by verbal support from its users. Greenough (1976) conducted a program that involved upcoming high school seniors and their parents. Its purpose was to implement parental guidance with the student's planning processes. This study measured the high school student's accomplishments five and six years after graduation. Greenough found that 90% of parent-counselled students had a chance to complete post-high school education and that they were presently satisfied In their occupation. A 20-60% probability of error on the same achievements was found by students where parents chose not to participate in the program when compared with parent-counselled students. The program results Indicated that it seemed to help students select a preplanned major, receive post-high school education and be satisfied in their occupations. Greenough concluded that there seemed to be a strong relationship between students' job satisfaction and parents who were involved in the parent counselling program. 15 THE PARTNERS PROGRAM AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS A two group pre-test/post-test experimental design was employed by Palmer (1986) to study the effects of the Partners Program. This was conducted on 40 volunteer families—20 families were Experimental Group and 20 families were Control Group. A MANOVA was used to test improvement on five variables—family adaptability, family cohesion, career maturity, dyadic formation, career orientation. The MANOVA results yielded significant effects for groups over time. In addition, interviews done on all the parents and six adolescents provided qualitative reports that tended to support the varied degrees of improvement by the adolescents. Palmer's research concluded that the results indicated that adolescents showed marked improvement in their career development and a strengthening of parental bonding. Questions she raised after her research was done on this program is what this study attempts to partially answer. She recommended further research that was more process-oriented to discover what it is that happens during the process of the program that has a significant effect on the career development of the adolescent. This current study focuses on the kind of events that facilitate the career development of the adolescent during the process of the Partners Program. 16 REVIEW OF THE CRITICAL INCIDENTS TECHNIQUE The research design used for data collection in this study is the Critical Incidents Technique developed by Flanagan (1954). This technique grew out of research done in the Aviation Psychology Program of the United States Army Air Force during World War II. It is an Interview method concerned with obtaining specific incidents which facilitate or hinder a specific aim. In this study the aim is to identify the kind of events that facilitate the career development of adolescents during the process of the Partners Program. This technique is a form of interview research designed to collect an extensive range of Incidents from people who are in a position to report what facilitated or hindered the aim of an activity. Flanagan (1954) defines an "incident" as "...any observable human activity that is sufficiently complete in itself to permit influences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act" (p. 327). These Incidents are then categorized to provide an answer to the general question of what facilitates or hinders this activity. Although incidents collected represent raw data only and do not provide solutions to problems automatically, Cohen and Smith (1976) pointed out that if hundreds of incidents describe what facilitates and hinders an activity, it provides a functional description of the 17 Important requirements of improving that task at hand. The critical Incidents Technique also suggests the procedures for developing categories from the basic data. Flanagan (1954, pp. 344-5) highlights the following for category formulation: 1. The selection of the general frame of reference for describing incidents. 2. The selection of specificity—generality levels to use in reporting. 3. Tentative categories are submitted to others for review. The value of this method of research lies in the depth of understanding of the phenomena under investigation. That is, "The Interview situation permits much greater depth than other methods of collecting research (Borg & Gall, 1983, p. 436). Flanagan (1978) also states that subjects recalled incidents that provided a rich and valuable source of information. The Critical incidents Technique has had a variety of applications since the initial studies and has a long history of use. It has been used to develop proficiency measures, to improve the design of equipment (Flanagan, 1954) and to develop effective learning environment. It has also been used in a variety of fields, Including commerce, nursing and psychology (Dachelet, Wemett, Garling, Craig-Kuhn, Kent, Kitzmen, 1981). Flanagan (1954) points out some inherent strengths in using this technique for research. He states, "The Critical 18 Incidents Technique consists of a set of procedures for collecting direct observations of human behaviour in such a way as to facilitate their potential influences in solving practical problems and developing broad psychological principles (p. 327). He also states that "... the Critical Incidents Technique does not consist of a single rigid set of rules governing such data collection. . ." He points out that each study requires a different set of rules ". . . modified and adapted to meet the situation at hand . . ." (p. 335). In research done by Anderson & Nllsson (1964), they concluded that information collected by this approach is both reliable and valid. Furthermore, Mayeske, Harmon & Gllckman (1966) state that this research method is relatively free from bias because it is based on actual experience. They also found that Incidents collected give operational expression to what helps and hinders the activity under investigation. In conclusion, the Critical Incidents Technique was selected as an appropriate means for the purpose of this study because of the following advantages: 1) It has been shown to be a valid and reliable way to collect incidents relevant to a functional description of an activity; 2) It suggests a procedure for category formulation; 3) It provides an interview method in which indepth understanding of the phenomena under investigation may be ascertained; 19 4) It provides a flexible set of principles modifiable and adaptable to relevant use; 5) It has been used extensively In many fields of Investigation. CHAPTER III  METHODOLOGY SUBJECTS A total of 9 dyads—18 subjects In all—volunteered to participate in this study. Each dyad consisted of one parent and one adolescent. The adolescents were high school students In grades ten to twelve, an age group within the exploration stage of vocational development (Super 1957), which is the primary focus of the Partners Program (Cochran 1985). The sample was selected from volunteers within a Langley church that has approximately 2600 members and/or adherents. The method of selecting volunteers was twofold. First, the researcher attended a Parent Night in the church and gave a brief verbal presentation of the aims of the Program and the intent of his research based on a paper introducing the Partners Program (Appendix A). The parents at this event all had teenage children who attended the church youth group. After this meeting they perused the Partners Program and if interested, put their name and the name of their adolescent on a sign-up sheet. information was then taken home to peruse with the adolescent. Secondly, the researchers posted information in the weekly church bulletin (Appendix B) to recruit volunteers. This bulletin insert ran for two consecutive Sundays following the Parent Night. A total of 15 dyads volunteered 21 on the sign-up sheet and were subsequently contacted by phone. Subjects were informed that the study to be conducted would explore the topic of career development in the adolescent. The program would be self-administered and take approximately 10 hours over a 4-6 week period. Approximately 1 hour would be required from each participant for individual interviews upon program completion. Participation was voluntary and Interviews were to be tape recorded. Letters of consent were given to both parent (Appendix C) and adolescent (Appendix D), specifically stating the nature and intent of the study. From the Initial 15 dyads that volunteered to participate in the study, 9 dyads completed the program and were interviewed. The six families that dropped out of the study contacted the researcher and gave their reasons for incompletion. Two parents reported that the adolescent was uncooperative and refused to carry on. Four families indicated time pressure did not allow them to continue. The remaining nine families did not contact the researcher. However, the researcher contacted two families to encourage them to continue on as they went beyond the allotted 4-6 week period to complete the program. PROCEDURE This study was conducted between May and September. Upon completion o£ the program, interview times were arranged with the subjects by telephone. The interviews took place in the researcher's office and each subject's Interview lasted between 45 minutes and one hour. The parent and adolescent were asked Identical interview questions, but the parent answered questions pertaining to the adolescent's career development. THE CRITICAL INCIDENTS INTERVIEW The Critical incidents Technique was selected to help subjects identify, from their own experiences, the kind of events that facilitate the adolescent's perceived career maturity during the process of the Partners Program. Data were collected by means of individual interviews. The interviewer began each interview with the following preamble: I want to thank you and your partner for completing the Partners Program. From the outset I'd like to remind you that this interview will be tape recorded and that what we discuss here is strictly confidential and only used for the purpose of this research study. Your name will not be attached to any of the information we record. I'd like to briefly reacquaint you with the purpose of my research and this interview—the purpose is to try and discover what happens that is significant in career planning during the process of the Partners Program. I will be asking you a series of questions, starting from the first workbook (the activities workbook), through until the last workbook (the planning workbook). 23 Following the preamble, the subject was able to ask any questions he/she had regarding the study. The interview proceeded following the preamble. It involved a series of open-ended questions to help the subject explore his/her experiences during the process of the program. The interviews were constructed to conform to the guidelines defined by Flanagan (1954): The interviewer should avoid asking leading questions after the main question has been stated. His remarks should be neutral and permissive and show that he accepts the observer as expert. By indicating that he understands what is being said and permitting the observer to do most of the talking, the interviewer can usually get unbiased incidents (p. 342). THE INTERVIEW After the interviewer reacquainted the subject with a brief explanation of the purpose of the study, he then requested specific events that had a positive and/or negative impact on career planning. The interviewer then elicited details of what led up to the incident, what actually happened that was so helpful and why it was so helpful. Subjects were reminded to report concrete events rather than opinions or theories throughout the course of the Interview. The actual interview proceeded as follows: Now that you've completed the Partners Program, I would like you to think back to the very beginning of the program. Think back to when you were working on the activities workbook and while you were on this, I'd like you to recall something 24 that happened to you that had an impact on your career development, either positively or negatively." During the interview the subject had the workbook in hand and leafed through it for a recollection of their experiences during the workbook. When the parent/adolescent had indicated he/she had an event In mind, the interview proceeded with the following questions: a) What exactly happened that had such an impact? b) What were the circumstances that lead up this event? c) How did this incident help your career planning? d) What exactly happened that was so helpful to you at that time? e) can you think of another event that happened while you were working on the activities workbook (or whatever book being discussed), whether it be positive or negative, that had a significant Impact in your career planning? After each incident was recalled, the same five questions cited above were asked. when the parent/ adolescent was unable to generate further Incidents of significance, the interviewer proceeded from Activities Workbook (Appendix E) to Career Grid Workbook (Appendix F) to Planning Workbook (Appendix G). CATEGORIZATION Upon completion of the interview, the researcher extracted incidents from the audiotape recordings and recorded these on 3" x 5" note cards. Data analysis involved examining incidents for similarities and common factors. These note cards contained one incident and were typically recorded in the Interviewer's own words or paraphrased in accordance to their reporting of the incident. Each note card contained three components that comprised each incident. These three components were: a) who reported the incident b) what happened c) what the significant impact was The first step in the date analysis was classification of the incidents. This process involved grouping incidents into categories and developing descriptive statements of each grouping. The incidents were categorized according to the impact the incident had upon the career development of the adolescent. The aim of categorization was to determine the optimal balance between the general and the specific. This aim was sought by following Flanagan's (1954) guidelines in the selection of category headings: a) The headings must be clear-cut, logically organized and have an easily remembered structure. b) The titles require meanings without detailed definitions. c) The headings should be homogeneous and parallel in content and structure. d) The headings should be comprehensive and should facilitate findings by being easily applied. After all the incidents were summarized and recorded onto note cards, the development of the category system began. This process involved grouping incidents that had common elements in the impact section of each note card. The beginning categorization was a trial classification. A small sample of the note cards were sorted, placing Incidents that seemed similar together. Following this, the researcher made initial category definitions and continued to classify additional Incidents into them. The categories were reviewed and refined until all Incidents that were similar were placed. The definitions for each category were re-examined in terms of actual incidents within them, and this process was repeated until the categories were complete. This involved several cycles to develop satisfactory categories. categories were refined in an ongoing process as each review of the category titles resulted in some redefinitions. Finally, after several reviews, the category scheme became clear and the classification system seemed complete. INDEPENDENT RATERS' CATEGORIZATION Following the researcher's categorization, three cards were randomly selected from each of the sixteen categories for two independent raters to categorize. The raters were employed to check the category reliability. Rater A was a 28 year old male, an experienced Pastor who was currently working on an advanced degree in theology. Rater B was a 32 year old female who formerly served 10 years in police work and investigation. The raters were briefly oriented to their task with an explanation of how the events were gathered. Each incident was categorized on the basis of how it helped the adolescent in his/her career planning. The raters were instructed to take the written cards and to categorize them according to the impact the event had and not on what happened. They were to look over all the categories first and ask any questions as to the nature or meaning of categories, when the rater Indicated he/she was clear on what to do, he/she proceeded with the categorization. 28 CHAPTER IV RESULTS In this Critical incidents study on what facilitates the perceived career development of the adolescent during the process of the Partners Program, 18 participants reported a total of 302 incidents, all of which were positive. No hindering or negative incidents were reported, despite invitations to do so. The nature of the Interview—working through each workbook during the process—made it possible to judge whether the program was completed. From these interviews, it was concluded that 9 families had finished the program. On the average, dyads spent 10 hours in the program, ranging from 6-14 hours. All parents found the tasks to be clear and easy to follow. No families phoned the researcher for assistance during the program. upon completion of the Interviews, the incidents were summarized from the audiotape recordings onto Index cards. Through an Inductive process of gradual refinement, 16 categories emerged. The 302 incidents were sorted and resorted into groups with common meaning until they formed categories. During categorization, the researcher sought the optimal balance between the general and the specific. in the process of sorting cards, the development of the category system began. As many as 26 categories were developed, but upon 29 closer examination of common elements in the impact section of each note card, 16 categories seemed to clearly emerge. The researcher and the two independent raters categorized incidents into the 16 categories. The researcher categorized all 302 incidents, whereas the raters categorized a sample of 3 incidents from each category. Following are the 16 categories with a brief description of each category, and illustrated by two concrete incidents that were judged as prototypical in that category. CATEGORIES 1. CRYSTALLIZED DIRECTION (17 incidents) Some adolescents seemed to have a general idea about their career direction. For example, one teenager knew he wanted a career in music. He reported he was able to establish that he wanted to now narrow this down to being a Gospel singing evangelist. These adolescents tended to report incidents whereby there was a narrowing to a specific direction. The adolescent felt something—having an 'aha' experience or being able to say, "This is the one." Through discussion with a friend, she realized she was on the right track and that the career was the one for her. Through completing the program she was able to narrow down career choices and pick the one for her. 30 2. STRENGTHENED OR CONFIRMED DIRECTION (28 incidents) Some people entered the program with a reasonable career direction. This category contained events that were reported to pertain specifically to a career that had already been established. Through discussing jobs besides my top choices this did not sway my career direction but rather strengthened it more. Through receiving some hands-on experience in my career choice I felt my career direction was further affirmed. 3. EXPANDED POSSIBILITIES (28 incidents) Incidents in this category included identifying a promising career direction or career possibility. This was not a definite career direction, but really prevented the person from either not realizing any career possibilities or widening their career range. One adolescent reported having been liberated from a career he thought he was destined to have since childhood. Through listing her wide range of enjoyable activities, this helped her realize that she has many career possibilities. Through discussing activities, this unstuck him from a career he dreamed of doing since childhood and enlarged his career pool. 4. GAINED INSIGHT INTO NATURE OF CHOICE (23 incidents) Participants realized how the adolescent would make career choices based on what they discovered during the program. Closer examination of personal values, interests, 31 and strengths, combined with a closer scrutiny of available career options helped them realize how they could choose their careers. They realized, often for the first time, that career choices will be made on the basis of their own examination of themselves and of career possibilities. Through examining scope of values, Interests and strengths, she realized that she should choose a career that best fitted them all. Through comparing likes with predominant values, I realized career choices will be made by what career values I hold highest. 5. ESTABLISHED VALUES PRIORITY (11 incidents) One value Is established over another value. This was done primarily by comparison. Adolescents reported a hierarchy of values and examined career possibilities in light of their established values. Through discussing job values she considered pursuing careers that meet predominant values at the expense of other values. By comparing top two career choices, helping others was clearly established in his primary value in a career, over and above all other values. 6. CRYSTALLIZED VALUES OR PISVALUED (21 incidents) This category contained incidents in which the people reported that there was either a clarification of something they valued or a clarification of values adhered to. Through listing career values she realized minimal job pressure was mandatory as a career value. 32 Through examining enjoyable activities he realized elements he valued and elements he disvalued in the activities. 7. STIMULATED EXPLORATION (10 incidents) Incidents in this category displayed active exploring and not just thinking through. Adolescents indicated that they would get a 'taste' of a career by some kind of hands-on experience in order to see whether or not they liked it. Through comparing careers and career values, this stimulated exploration into a career by volunteering for 'hands-on experience.' Through realizing keen interest in three careers, I was stimulated to explore them by getting a taste of each one. 8. STIMULATED PREPARATION (30 incidents) This category went beyond getting a 'taste' of a career by including events that prepared for a career direction. Definite plans were made 'now' to prepare, and high school courses were selected for the upcoming year. It did not, however, include planning for future college courses. Events reported also encompassed job experience in the field of interest. Through discussing career possibilities I decided to prepare for my career interest by getting a part-time job in the field. Through completing the program and discussing career direction, the parent and the adolescent systematically planned out the next two years of high school courses. 33 9. STIMULATED FURTHER EVALUATION OF OPTIONS (21 incidents) This encompassed a thinking-through process whereby the adolescent weighed out, pinpointed problems and reconsidered options for a more informed choice. It included evaluating careers of interest as well as ones that had been specifically chosen. Through discussion with a person who was in the field of chosen career, the details of the job were thoroughly investigated, which caused him to reconsider and further evaluate this career. Through discussing strengths within enjoyable activities, he began weighing the pros and cons of specific careers more closely to decide on a specific career. 10. ELIMINATED OR QUESTIONED OPTIONS (20 incidents) Upon closer examination of personal interests and attributes, the adolescent realized that certain careers were eliminated. There was no focus on specific options resulting from the process. Through examining my activities, I eliminated a career possibility and realized an activity would only remain a hobby. Through comparing career values, this resulted in a shorter job list and eliminated certain fields. 11. PLANNED FINANCES FOR FURTHER EDUCATION (11 incidents) This category encompassed financial planning and preparation for future schooling. Parents and students reported events that revealed how future education would be paid for--scholarshlps, part-time jobs, parental support. Through realizing the high cost of post-high-school education, the adolescent planned part-time employment now and throughout college to pay for her schooling. Through discussing educational institutions, the adolescent and parent did a cost-effective analysis of each institution to determine where he'd get the most for his money. 12. EXPLORED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AND CONSIDERED  EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS (23 incidents) This category referred to future education beyond high school. Educational programs were examined through college catalogues to locate institutions that offered training in chosen careers. Location and cost were common factors In the consideration of educational institutions. No definite schools were chosen—this was merely an exploration of the available resources. One dyad reported that through this exploration process they discovered alternative education they had not previously considered. Through realizing tentative career choices, I checked out institutions and programs that prepared me for them. Through researching career choices in college catalogues, I realized my career choices required training offered only in certain schools. 13. INCREASED MOTIVATION (14 incidents) This category encompassed a broad range of incidents that increased motivation in the adolescent's career planning. The adolescent was motivated to do something that could foster the realization of a potentially fulfilling career. This included such things as brushing up on schoolwork, examining possible career choices, and inquiring about perspective jobs. Through working in a part-time job I hated, I was further motivated to work towards a fulfilling career. Through realizing what he could do to reach career goals, this increased his motivation to do well in the coming school year. 14. INCREASED CONFIDENCE (8 incidents) This category included events in which the adolescent learned something positive about him/herself. Adolescents reported that the process of working through the program helped them realize 'they could do it.' Through comparing careers and realizing she could do many, this bolstered her confidence in her abilities. Through recognizing emerging patterns about herself throughout the program, this gave her self-confidence in pursuing career choices available to her. 15. HELPED ASSESS QR PICTURE ONESELF (16 incidents) In this category, both adolescents and parents reported that different parts of the program helped them see the adolescent as he/she really was. They reported that the adolescent felt 'in touch' with self, and was able to picture oneself more accurately. Through considering my likes, values and strengths, I felt I had a much more comprehensive view of myself as a person. Through completing the program, he felt he had a better understanding of himself. 36 16. STRENGTHENED FAMILY NETWORK (21 incidents) This category contained events that had a positive Impact on the family. Incidents were reported that seemed to enhance family togetherness and family flexibility. Some parents and adolescents reported a 'freeing up' to be themselves as a result of partner discussions. Through family discussion, she began feeling understood and this helped clear up some family conflicts. Through sharing and discovering more about each other in the Activities Workbook, the adolescent knew parents were behind her in career plans. RELIABILITY Two independent raters categorized a sample of the 302 Incidents gathered by the researcher. This sample consisted of 3 cards selected from each of the 16 categories. According to Anderson and Nilsson (1964), reliability can be judged by the degree of agreement by independent judges in the categorization scheme. Raters A and B achieved reliability of 100%. These figures suggest that the category scheme is a reliable reflection of the reported incidents. INCIDENT FREQUENCY The frequency and percentage of reported incidents within each category is found in Table 1. The average number of reported incidents was 16.61, with a range of 5-22 incidents reported. As can be seen by the range, the participants varied a great deal in the number of incidents reported. In examining this further, parents produced 147 incidents with a range of between 5-22 incidents. In comparison, adolescents produced 155 incidents, ranging from 11-22 incidents (see Table 2). The average number of incidents reported by the parents was 16.33. The average number of Incidents reported by the adolescents was 17.22. CATEGORIES PARTICIPATION RATE The participation rate for the percentage of subjects represented in each category is reported in Table 3. A category is formed as a result of different people independently reporting the same kind of event. When several people report the same kind of Incident, it greatly strengthens the possibility that a category was well-founded . Participation rate is one way of Indicating the soundness of a category, since agreement among independent people is one criterion for determining objectivity (Kalper, 1964). It Indicates the extent to which different people report the same kind of event as facilitating an aim and is analogous to the use of inter subjective agreement by independent observers to achieve objectivity. 38 TABLE 1 FREQUENCY & PERCENTAGE OF REPORTED INCIDENTS WITHIN EACH CATEGORY CATEGORY F. % PERCENT (n = 302 incidents) 1. Crystallized Direction 17 5.6 2. Strengthened or Confirmed Direction 28 9.3 3. Expanded Possibilities 28 9.3 4. Gained Insight into Nature of choice 23 7.6 5. Establish Values Priority 11 3.6 6. Crystallized Values or Disvalued 21 7.0 7. Stimulated Exploration 10 3.3 8. Stimulated Preparation 30 9.9 9. Stimulated Further Evaluation of 21 7.0 Options 10. Eliminated or Questioned Options 20 6.6 11. Planned Finances for Further 11 3.6 Education 12. Explored Educational institutions 23 7.6 and Considered Educational Requirements 13. Increased Motivation 14 4.6 14. Increased Confidence 8 2.1 15. Helped Assess or Picture Oneself 16 5.3 16. Strengthened Family Network 21 7.0 39 TABLE 2 NO. OF REPORTED INCIDENTS IN EACH CATEGORY AS REPORTED BY PARENTS & ADOLESCENTS CATEGORY (n = 302 incidents) 1. Crystallized Direction 2. Strengthened or Confirmed Direction 3. Expanded Possibilities 4. Gained Insight into Nature of Choice 5. Establish Values Priority 6. Crystallized Values or Disvalued 7. Stimulated Exploration 8. Stimulated Preparation 9. Stimulated Further Evaluation of Options 10. Eliminated or Questioned Options 11. Planned Finances for Further Education 12. Explored Educational Institutions and Considered Educational Requirements 13. Increased Motivation 14. Increased Confidence 15. Helped Assess or Picture Oneself # OF INCIDENTS REPORTED BY ADOLESCENTS 10 16 10 12 11 6 13 11 13 5 13 11 3 8 # OF INCIDENTS REPORTED BY PARENTS 12 18 11 10 4 17 10 7 6 10 3 5 8 16. Strengthened Family Network 14 40 TABLE 3 PERCENTAGE OF SUBJECTS REPORTING INCIDENTS IN EACH CATEGORY CATEGORY PERCENTAGE PROPORTION FOR EACH CATEGORY - PERCENTAGE OF SUBJECTS REPRESENTED -% OF % OF ADOLESCENTS PARENTS COMBINED PARENTS & ADOLESCENTS TOTAL 1. Crystallized Direction 55.6 2. Strengthened or 77.7 Confirmed Direction 3. Expanded Possibilities 66.7 4. Gained insight into 55.6 Nature of Choice 5. Establish Values 44.4 Priority 6. Crystallized Values 55.6 or Disvalued 7. Stimulated Exploration 44.4 8. Stimulated Preparation 66.7 9. Stimulated Further 77.7 Evaluation of Options 10. Eliminated or 77.7 Questioned Options 11. Planned Finances for 55.6 Further Education 12. Explored Educational 77.7 Institutions and Considered Educational Requirements 13. Increased Motivation 66.7 14. Increased Confidence 33.3 15. Helped Assess or 66.7 Picture Oneself 16. Strengthened Family 44.4 Network 55.6 55.6 66.7 55.6 55.6 66.7 33.3 66.7 55.6 44.4 55.6 55.6 22.2 55.6 66.7 55.6 55.6 66.7 66.7 55.6 50.0 61.1 38.9 66 .7 66.7 61.1 55.6 66.7 44.4 44.4 66.7 50.0 41 CASE STUDY One of the nine dyads that participated in this study was arbitrarily selected for further examination. The results of their experience during the process of the Partners Program exemplify the process experiences in completing the Partners Program. During Workbook #1—the Activities Workbook—(Appendix E), both parent and adolescent reported that the adolescent's career direction was crystallized after discussing his activities and his values, thereby helping him to realize a 'singlemindedness' about his career direction. Values Identified in this workbook increased his motivation to pursue his career direction. I love the challenge and risk involved in pursuing my career choice which motivates me to practice my music more and to study harder to achieve the goal of making it In music ministry. The parent also reported that the adolescent seemed to crystallize his values In 'more depth' than he had done before, stating that the format in this workbook helped him be more specific. The initial exploration of values, activities, likes and strengths motivated the adolescent to advance In the program because he believed that the workbook exercises helped him 'work through' his thoughts and feelings about prospects. In workbook #2—The Career Grid Workbook—(Appendix F), the adolescent also participated in "Choices" computer career program. The exercises in this workbook challenged 42 him to look at career values which motivated him to explore avenues that would meet these career values. Both parent and adolescent reported that this workbook and the information gained from "Choices" confirmed his career choice, even after exploring other career possibilities. They reported a 'narrowing down' of not only career options but more specifically, of career options within the same field, as a result of the exercises in Workbook #2. By comparing specific careers within the field of music in the table of differences, I realized that I wanted to pursue the avenue of music that provided the greatest challenge or risk for me and gave me the freedom to create and perform. The process of completing the career grid and working through the table of differences when comparing careers and career values helped the adolescent realize parental support in his career direction. The parent reported: At this point in the program, he realized our support even though I felt I had to play the 'devil's advocate' in his consideration of careers and what was involved in each one. The tentative career choice arrived at in workbook #2, motivated the adolescent to carry on Workbook &3--the Planning Workbook—(Appendix C). Here, both parent and adolescent reported that the cost of education for his career direction was clarified. The adolescent stated: When examining the possible universities to attend, we realized the tremendous cost of education, which challenged me to apply myself to my studies and work towards complete academic scholarship. This workbook seemed to bring new light to the task of evaluating institutions in a more realistic and manageable way. The parent reported: The planning workbook caused my son and I to do a cost-effective analysis of each institution at length concerning his career choice, in effect, we seemed to determine where he'd get the most for his dollar value. The exercises in the workbook resulted in a thorough examination of institutions and visits to campuses, receiving institution calendars and speaking with institution personnel. After this was done, the adolescent and parent together decided where the best choice of institution was a decision based on teamwork in researching schools in his specific career. The overall effect In the adolescent's career development in this particular case study was that the Individual felt that the Partners Program strengthened and confirmed his career direction and Increased his motivation to pursue his career choice. He stated: "The program helped my father and I to see my career plans more clearly and helped me recognize our differences." The parent reported that the Partners Program was very valuable In that it provided a structured setting that gave, special attention and focus on my son and this helped him focus on his career plans in much more depth then we've ever done before, even though we talked considerably about his career plans for about two or three years. 44 CHAPTER V DISCUSSION STATEMENT OF THE RESULTS The findings of this empirical investigation suggest some answers to the research question, "What happens that is significant in career planning during the process of the Partners Program?" The 18 participants in this study produced 302 incidents out of which 16 categories emerged; the 100'% interrater reliability demonstrated strong reliability in all categories. Each category received considerable representation. This was indicated by the high proportion of subjects represented in each category (Table 3). From a total of 16 categories, 13 had 50% or more of the subjects represented within that category. The lowest representation of subjects within the 16 categories was 38.9% (Table 3). The sixteen categories that emerged from the study were: Crystallized Direction, Strengthened or Confirmed Direction, Expanded Possibilities, Gained Insight Into Nature of Choice, Reestablish Values Priority, Crystallized Values or Disvalued, Stimulated Exploration, Stimulated Preparation, Stimulated Further Evaluation of Options, Eliminated or Questioned Options, Planned Finances for Further Education, Explored Educational Institutions and Considered Educational Requirements, Increased Motivation, increased confidence, Helped Assess or Picture oneself, and Strengthened Family Network. These categories seemed to reflect what Cochran (1985) stated as the threefold aim of the Partners Program: to foster career development, in particular, self awareness, career awareness and decision and planning capabilities. Self awareness, the first aim, seemed to be the underlying theme in many of the categories. In my experience with these adolescents, increased self awareness helped them gain Insight into the nature of choice, as it applies to careers. For example, one dyad reported that the program helped the adolescent get a "bird's eye view" of the youth's strengths and abilities. This increased his confidence in himself, and as a result, he reported that this liberated him from being fixated on only one career. The categories that seemed to hinge around self awareness were: Establish Values Priority, Crystallized Values or Disvalued, Increased Motivation, Increased Confidence, Helped Assess or Picture Oneself. This aspect of the program seemed to be very strong. Parents reported that one of the most thrilling things that happened during the process of the program was that the adolescent was becoming more aware of him/herself. From that, parents reported that this seemed to give the youth a "platform" from which to help them with decision and planning capabilities. It seemed that the more the adolescent could conceptualize who he/she was as a person, the greater their ability to choose 46 careers. This conceptualization included a rigorous examination of their perceived values. Two categories— Establish Values Priority, crystallized Values or Disvalued —reflected this. Recognizing personal values and examining them, even to the point of creating a values hierarchy, helped the adolescents when approaching career choices. One dyad reported that the adolescent had gone through choices career program during the Partners Program. They indicated that the Partners Program helped them greatly because of its indepth nature. It assisted them in exploring the youth's personal values in light of career choices, whereas they reported that "Choices just spit out a number of career options." Categories that seemed to reflect decision and planning capabilities were: Expanded Possibilities, Stimulated Exploration, stimulation Preparation. one adolescent reported that once she had realized her career direction, she immediately made plans. Her parent stated that the day after the program completion, the adolescent applied and obtained a summer job to save money for college. The motivation to do this was derived from family discussion which enabled the adolescent to realize the limited financial support her parents could offer her. The second major aim of the program was to strengthen the youths' family support network. The 9 dyads all reported some measure of family cohesion as a result of participating in the program. Three dyads reported that 47 throughout the program, workbook exercises lead to family discussions. These discussions would involve the dyad, the other parent and often other siblings. They reported that these discussions brought the family together and helped family members better understand each other. One family reported that the results of the program provided a "resource base" for future reference, if it were ever required. Another family said that the Partners Program provided a firm foundation for career planning and that it helped them start the adolescent in the ongoing process of career planning. The last aim of the program was to stimulate young persons to make better use of career resources and programs within schools and colleges (Cochran 1985). Two categories reflected this aim: Planned Finances for Further Education was the first, and Explored Educational institutions and Considered Educational Requirements was the second. There was a strong representation of the adolescents in these categories: Exploring and Considering Institutions category had a 77.7% participation rate. This active category produced incidents that Indicated most adolescents weren't aware of such things as: the high cost of education, the educational requirements for a chosen career, the type of institution for career choice, and educational options. Perhaps the richness of participating in the Partners Program Is best reflected by the report of one parent. 48 The Partners Program takes a lot of time to do a good job on, but It was time well spent, even though we are a very busy family. LIMITATIONS AND QUALIFICATIONS OF THE STUDY There are some factors that limit the generalizabllity of these results. A primary limitation was that 6 dyads dropped out of the initial 15 dyads that comprised the volunteers in this study. Two reasons were given for this dropout rate. One was that parent-child tension terminated participation. Another was that the program requires a sizable time commitment. Therefore, in this study, parent-child tension and time commitment reduce participation in the Partners Program. A second limitation to the research findings was the size and composition of the sample. The subjects were volunteers and formed a small group of adolescents in the exploratory stages of career development. The results, therefore, are generallzable only to the middle class, church-attending families that these volunteers represented. Thirdly, the fact that the incidents were obtained through self-report mode could raise questions concerning the findings: Were the results developmental or were the subjects just reporting what felt good? Do the results of this program hold over time? Fourthly, the categories were exploratory in nature and the value of each category could be studied under its own strength. 49 Fifthly, career development is an ongoing process and these findings only report results within a specific time frame. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS The findings of this study suggest a number of practical implications. Most Interestingly, there seems to be a potency of family relationships involved in career counselling. Family insight and family get-togethers can provide a powerful framework for working with adolescents in career counselling. That this has not been a tradition, in career counselling, can be considered an oversight. Career counselling courses and programs are available but there is little or no involvement with families. Based on my experience with these families, counsellors could find a powerful ally in career counselling by encouraging and implementing family involvement. Due to time Involvement and escalating costs of counselling, the Partners Program provides a career counselling structure that relieves the school counsellor from both of these areas. Furthermore, parents want to help their children In career decisions but don't know how (Lea, 1976; Bratcher, 1982; Brighouse, 1985). Children expect parents to be influences and helpers In career decisions (Birk, 1979; Mitchell, 1978). This program provides an adequate framework for both parents and adolescents to work together in career planning. 50 SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH The results of this study have an enormous heuristic value to the developing field of career counselling. Since the findings of this study are limited in their generalizabllity, further research is required to confirm the results reported in this study. A larger sample with a more varied composition is recommended. A longitudinal study could be conducted to see if the effects of this program remain potent for extended periods of time. By conducting this type of study, It may be determined whether the results were developmental or whether the subjects were just reporting what felt good. The categories that emerged could be examined in order to determine the value of each unique category. If further research was conducted on these categories, would themes emerge that could further facilitate parents in assisting adolescent career planning? Since it has been determined that parents are a valuable resource for adolescents* career planning (Palmer & Cochran 1987), further research could be launched to evaluate various combinations of services In the effective integrations of parent and counselor resources. SUMMARY In this study examining how the Partners Program is effective, sixteen categories emerged from the 302 incidents reported as process events for career planning. Each 51 category demonstrated considerable representation from the subjects' reporting. The results of this research seem to verify the stated alms of the Partners Program. There seems to be a strong indication that self awareness increases the adolescent's career planning and decision making. 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HELPING YOUR CHILD SET A CAREER DIRECTION: IHCftWttRSPOOGAAM 56 APPENDIX A A Brief Introduction to the Partner's Program Larry Cochran, Ph.D. Aims The aims of the program are threefold. One major objective is to foster career development. In particular, the program concentrates on self awareness, on career awareness, and on decision and planning capabilities. The second major objective is to strengthen a youth's family network of support as he or she seeks to implement a career. The last aim is to stimulate young persons to make better use of career resources and programs within schools and colleges. Description of Workbooks The Partner's Program consists of a parent manual and three workbooks. The manual orients parents to the program, stressing the quality of communication and involvement necessary for a successful partnership and stressing certain safeguards. The exercises of each workbook were designed both to stimulate parent-child discussions and to forward basic steps of career planning. Activities Self-Exploration Workbook This workbook attempts to heighten awareness of the known (one's current range of activities) in order to begin exploring the unknown (work activities). Once a list of enjoyable activities is developed, the parent asks what his or her child likes about each, what values are involved and what strengths are shown. From notes, both partners search through the lists of likes, values, and strengths to identify ones that recur. These central themes are used as an initial basis for brainstorming a list of potential occupations and launching a search. Career Grid Workbook A career grid is a visual frame for organizing a decision (See Cochran, Measurement and Evaluation in Guidance, 1983, p.67-77). First, through tests, career information, and so on, partners are directed to expand and then narrow a list of suitable occupations. Second, through tests, consultation, and so on, they are directed to expand and then narrow a list of career values. Expansion and contraction is a strategy that allows major principles of decision making to be incorporated into the program, including use of available resources, and that fosters a sense of working together. After occupations are rated on each value, partners are guided through systematic comparison and reasonably thorough deliberation. The workbook ond9 with a tentative) decision. For many, this decision 13 apt to bo a form of practice, but for those who muat act noon, it might be n flrnt step toward implementing a direction. 57 Planning Workbook Through a series of steps, the workbook guides partners in identifying institutions for further training or education, determining entrance requirements, estimating costs and resources, and improving oneself. The workbook also includes three scenarios to strengthen awarensss of key terms like means, obstacles, contingencies, fall-back options, and so on. Essentially, parent and child work together to form a reasonable career plan. Development of Program The program is based upon two theories of development. In Urie Bronfenbrenner's theory of human development, development is strongly influenced in part by the quality of relations a person has. The developmental impact of a relationship is enhanced if members of a dyad pay attention to one another, feel that they are doing something together, develop strong and differentiated feelings for one another, and move toward reciprocity and more even balance of power. The exercises of the program require paying attention and working together. In the manual, parents are instructed to strive for warmth, reciprocity, and mutuality of power. In short, the program is designed to enhance conditions that will facilitate a partnership or primary dyad around the youth's career development. In Donald Super's theory of career development, a career is conceived as a progression through various stages. Progression depends upon the completion of career develpment tasks that are unique for each stage. In late adolescence and early adulthood, which is the focus of this program, the core ta.-.ks are crystallizing, specifying, and implementing a vocational preference. To complete these tasks adequately requires the development of certain attitudes and competencies involving planfulness, decison skills, information acquisition and appraisal, and an exploratory attitude. If a person emerges with adequate awareness of self and occupations, decision and planning competency, his or her capacity to crystallize, specify and implement, a vocational preference is apt to be enhanced. In the Partner's Program, the exercises concern career development tasks. However, the exercises also are a vehicle for strengthening parent-child relations at least on the topic of career. The complex and personal nature of the workbook exercises invite those qualities that facilitate a higher quality of relationship. In turn, a stronger partnership is apt to improve the quality with which- the workbook exercises are completed. The actual program was rofinod through field testa with several families, involving 20-25 hours with each family. These families helped the authors to eliminate unnecessary complexity, simplify, and elaborate. Subsequently, the 58 revised form of the program was offered to a group of twenty families who were compared with twenty control families (who later completed the program as well). Using the Career Development Inventory, the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Evaluation Scales, a questionnaire developed to assess the quality of the partnership and,career development, and interviews, the study found that youth who worked through the program with a parent showed significant improvement in career development and parental bonding. The anticipated changes, following Bronfenbrenner and Super, were both confirmed. Also, a wide variety of practical career activities were stimulated. Role of the Counsellor While there are a variety of ways a counsellor might use the Partner's Program to support a broader career program in school or college, and in turn, there are many ways one might support parents' involvement, let us consider a minimum. First, students who participate should be aware of what career resources are available. Ideally, a list of resources could be handed out including, for instance, Holland's Self-Directed Search, DISCOVER, CHOICES, books, or whatever is available. Throughout the Partner's Program, participants are encouraged to make use of resources, and in the studies noted above, they did seek out and use many resources. Second, be available for consultation or referral. Most families will complete the program on their own, and take pride in doing so. It tends to become a very meaningful activity for them. However, the manual also instructs them to terminate the program and refer, should it become obvious that they cannot work together. This is a needed safeguard since some parent-child relations are strained and problematic. Some pairs overcome problems and dramatically improve. Others simply become increasingly aware that there is a problem. In any case, if a counsellor was available, even on a limited basis, there would be someone to whom parents or youth could turn. APPENDIX B CHURCH BULLETIN INSERT MAY 24, 1987 Youth ADOLESCENTS * .... UNSURE OF YOUR CAREER DIRECTION? Volunteers needed (a parent & their adolescent, Grade 10 to just our of high school) for the "Partners Program", a CAREER GUIDANCE PROGRAM for adolescents and their parent, for a thesis research project done with Pastor Brian. Please leave names and phone number at the Church office. 62 APPENDIX E ACTIVITY SELF-EXPLORATION WORKBOOK Larry Cochran, Ph.D. and Norm Amundson, Ph.D. This workbook is for those people who are unsure of what they want in a career. By systematically exploring your current activities, it is intended to help you to identify important interests, values, and strengths that might clarify career directions. Copyright 1985 by Larry Cochran and Norm Amundson Published by Buchanan—Kells, 1985 Vancouver, B.C., Salem, Oregon 2 INTRODUCTION 63 When faced with setting a career direction, one of the most important tasks is to find out what one's options are. One could quickly gather a number of options, but finding a viable set of options is much more difficult. There are over twenty thousand occupations and the number is growing each year. Which ones might be right for you? What makes this question so difficult is that you are trying to judge an unknown. You probably have not experienced what many jobs are like and are probably not even sure what is involved in most jobs. The plan of this workbook is to use the known to judge the unknown. One of the things you know a lot about is the variety of activities that make up your life now. For example, you might study, play sports, tend a garden, belong to organizations, try to fix machines, help coach children, or just hang around with friends. Probably the three most important questions in planning a career are: What do I like to do? What do I value doing? What am I able to do well? By finding out your likes, values, and strengths within your current range of activities, you can establish a personal basis for exploring and judging occupations. Certainly, not every like, value, or strength could or should become a basis for career exploration, but there are apt to be enduring qualities of what you do now that can focus your search for a career direction. The aim of this workbook is to help you to discover what those more important and enduring qualities are. In this program, there are six small units or steps. The aims of these units are listed below. UNIT ONE: UNIT TWO: UNIT THREE: UNIT FOUR: UNIT FIVE: UNIT SIX: Develop a list of ten enjoyable activities. Find out what you like about each activity. Find out what values are involved in each activity. Find out your strengths in each activity. Identify likes, values, and strengths that are listed over and over across activities. Find out which occupations are apt to satisfy central likes, values, and strengths. 64 APPENDIX F CAREER GRID WORKBOOK Larry R. Cochran, Ph.D. This workbook is for those people who have a number of occupations in mind,.but do not really know which one is best. It is intended to help you to clarify your thinking, to systematically compare the occupations you might pursue, and to decide upon their value for the life you wish to live. Copyright 1985 by Larry Cochran Published by Buchanan-Kells. 1985 Vancouver, B.C.; Salem, Oregon INTRODUCTION In trying to plan a career, one might take interest tests, look up occupational information, talk to other people, and so on. However, there always comes a time when you must try to put your thoughts together and figure out which occupations you prefer the most. This can be one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. With so many things to keep in mind, deciders sometimes neglect important values. Key issues are missed. Comparisons between jobs are faulty and fragmented. In short, deciders can make decisions they will regret later. The career grid program is intended to help you to organize your thoughts and to make better decisions. It provides an opportunity to become clear on what you really think about the occupational possibilities you have in mind. In this program, there are four units. Each unit involves an important step in making a decision. UNIT ONE: UNIT TWO: UNIT THREE: UNIT FOUR: Develop a list of possible occupations. Develop a map of career values, what you want in a job for the life you wish to live. Judge occupations on these values. Evaluate and decide upon the desirability of your occupations. 66 APPENDIX G PLANNING WORKBOOK Larry R. Cochran, Ph. D. This workbook is for those people who are planning education or training in preparation for a career. It is intended to help you specify entrance requirements, financial support, and other important parts of a sound plan. Copyright 1985 by Larry Cochran Published by Buchanan—Kells, 1985 Vancouver, B.C., Salem, Oregon 2 INTRODUCTION b/ A bad plan can be an pven more important determinant of one's future than a decision. A person tends to live out the weaknesses of a plan rather than the consequences of a decision. The aim of this chapter is to create a plan, based upon accurate information. It is assumed that you will need further education and training. If you require no further education or training, and are ready to start a job hunt, then turn immediately to one of the following books. Bolles, R. The Quick Job-Hunting Map. Ten Speed Press. (There is both a beginning and an advanced version). Bolles, R. Tea Leaves: A New Look at Resumes. Ten Speed Press. Crystal, J., & Bolles, R. Wltere Do I Go From Here With My Life? Ten Speed Press. Lathrop, R. WIto's Hiring W7?o?Ten Speed Press. Bolles, R. Wliat Color Is Your Parachute?'Ten Speed Press. It is also assumed that you have a number of resources for gaining information: counsel ling center library, unions or work associations, government agencies, personnel offices, and even people in one's career. There are not only innumerable sources of information, but guides for obtaining information such as Bolles' last book above, and others on career and occupational information. The counsellors in your school, college, or university are experts to consult, particularly on local information. Also, provided at the end of this workbook are three case illustrations of bad planning. While the cases are made up, they are not fictional. Rather, they are based upon composites of different people who have gone astray in a similar fashion. You may refer to these cases to heighten awareness, increase motivation, or to simply add credibility to the tasks that have been set. They are real. Bad plans and their consequences happen. Unfortunately, they happen too frequently in my experience. Planning, of course, is not a guarantee of a bright future. Rather, it is a guide for what one can try to do in an uncertain environment. In a way, it is a resolve to take whatever control one can to make things happen the way one wants. For some people, things might work out nicely without any planning. However, planning is an effort to put the odds in one's favor. In the tasks below, I shall simply state what it is that needs to be done. In each case, I mean that you and your parents should discuss how to find out and then decide who will do what. For example, you might consult with the counsellor, use CHOICES, or send off for a pamphlet. Your parents might check with a local association or personnel office. The distribution of work depends entirely on you and your time. However, it is important for you to do as much as you can. Finding and using information resources is increasingly becoming an essential life skill, one that is worth cultivating now. 68 APPENDIX H PARENT CAREER GUIDANCE MANUAL Larry R. Cochran, Ph.D. This program is intended for parents who would like to become more involved in helping their children to set a career direction. The aim of the program is to facilitate a beginning foundation for your child's career development. Through exercises in the workbooks, you will help your child to explore interests, values, and strengths, and in general, try to make clear what your child wants in a career and what he or she is capable of doing. You will help your child to evaluate occupational possibilities and to make a tentative decision. And you will help to make a plan to gain entrance to an occupation. A second aim is to strengthen family bonds that support a young person's passage into the adult world. Many families have good relationships, but oddly enough, not good working relationships. Parents care a great deal, but are often strangely isolated from their child's efforts to launch a career. In making a career plan, your child is entering one of the most difficult transitions in life, a transition some never fully make and spend much of their adult lives trying to correct. If there is a time for parental involvement, support, and guidance, this is it. Copyright 1985 by Larry Cochran Published by Buchanan-Kells, 1985 Vancouver, B.C.. Salem, Oregon 2 Program Description 69 The program includes three workbooks. Each workbook has several units or tasks to accomplish. Below is an outline of the program. ACTIVITIES WORKBOOK UNIT ONE: UNIT TWO: UNIT THREE: UNIT FOUR: UNIT FIVE: UNIT SIX: Generate ten activities your child finds enjoyable. List what he or she finds enjoyable about each activity. List what values are involved in each activity. List what strengths are shown in each activity. Identify likes, values, and strengths that occur over and over across activities. Use these likes, values, and strengths to brainstorm suitable jobs and begin finding out more about them. CAREER GRID WORKBOOK UNIT ONE: UNIT TWO: UNIT THREE: UNIT FOUR: Expand and then narrow occupations to the ten best possibilities. Expand and then narrow desirable features of occupations to the ten most important ones. Rate or grade each occupation on each desirable feature. Use a decision procedure to evaluate and rank occupations from most to least desirable. PLANNING WORKBOOK UNIT ONE: UNIT UNIT UNIT UNIT UNIT UNIT UNIT TWO: THREE: FOUR: FIVE: SIX: SEVEN: EIGHT: Find out what training is required for an occupation and where one can get it. Find out the entrance requirements for training. Plan education to meet those requirements. Estimate financial costs and resources for training. Decide which educational or training institution is best. Plan how to keep options open. Anticipate ways to minimize risks. Decide upon personal characteristics to improve. In the Activities Workbook, the parent should pose the question of each unit and take notes on the appropriate tables. For example, once you have ten activities listed, you would ask (In Unit Two): What are the things you like about the first activity? As your child mentions things, you would take notes. Sometimes you will have things to suggest as well. Sometimes, your child will talk rather vaguely and you might try to accurately summarize or pinpoint what it is he or she likes. And sometimes, your child might need encouragement to expand upon his or her likes. The tasks of this workbook are quite simple, but do require some help to do well. Often, the experience of completing the Activities Workbook is that of a fast-paced discussion. You could complete the whole workbook in a few hours but it would probably be better to use a few sessions. 3 70 When you finish the Activities Workbook, you will be directed to find out about occupa tions that seem suitable. However, a search for information should be on-going. While it starts here, it should continue throughout the program. If you arrange, for instance, to meet with your child for an hour or so once or twice a week, your child could look up information, complete interest tests, or whatever, between these sessions. In the Career Grid Workbook, you will not take notes, but will continue to suggest, clarify, direct, pose the tasks, discuss, and generally help to do whatever needs to be done. For this workbook particularly, read each unit before you get together with your child. For Unit Three, it would probably be best to cut out the career grid. Unit Four should involve considerable discussion as your child will be weighing one value against another, a task that can benefit from the broader perspective and experience of a parent. In the Planning Workbook, the units are directed toward your child primarily, but it really requires both parent and child. The reason for this is that planning partially involves financial support, a topic that is apt to involve parents quite heavily. The Planning Work book is a rather straightforward frame for gathering information and organizing it into a plan, so that everyone knows who is responsible for what if the plan is to succeed. During the program, you and your child have a number of basic controls: 1. You can decide how much time, effort, and concentration to place on each unit. Each unit can be completed in one session or spaced over several sessions. Be guided by the needs of yourself and your child. For example, if your child has a clear interest area, there may be no need to concentrate on the Activity Workbook. If your child is vague and uncertain, you might want to spend a lot of time on this Workbook. 2. You can decide what parts of a unit will be stressed. What will be placed in focus and what will be unstressed? 3. You can decide on the level of focus that is most appropriate. Sometimes, you might help your child with a focus on precise detail in order to gain clarity. At other times, you will want to step back and get the whole in perspective. 4. You can highlight reasons for focusing on one thing or another. Your reasons will help to co-ordinate the way you and your child approach the task. 5. You can maintain a unifying focus by relating aspects of one unit to aspects uncovered in preceding units. 6. You can decide to make additions to units if you wish. For example, you could create exercises, consult a counsellor, use test results and so on. 7. You can decide on the pace. It is probably best to get together once or twice a week. This depends a lot on you and your time. Generally, too slow a pace is apt to hinder interest in the project, but if delicate issues arise, you might deliberately slow things down. Parental Counselling Role Parental involvement adds immensely to the quality with which these workbooks are completed, the benefit gained from completing them. Certainly, your child could complete many units on his or her own, and if you are really pressed for time, you could leave a unit for your child to complete alone. However, to maintain interest, enthusiasm, and effort, parent involvement is very important. The workbooks are intended to be a co-operative venture, to cultivate a sense of partnership, a sense of 'we' rather than 'me'. The success of this program depends, to a large extent, upon the quality of the working relationship you and your child form. For this reason, I will cover some of the basic principles that should guide your involvement. 71 4 Pay Attention. Be engaged. Be fully there, without letting your mind wander to unpaid bills, work problems, vacation plans, and so on. Really try to discover what your child's likes, values, strengths, and ideas are. In particular, attend to what your child is saying, not to what you wish or want him or her to say. Not only should you give your full attention to the task, you should put attention to use. You might paraphrase what your child has said to make sure you understand it. You might summarize lengthy statements and try to clarify vague ones. Active attention will keep you much more involved than passive attention, and will be much more helpful to your child. Strive for reciprocity. Like a friendship, partners should be able to give and take without fear of giving offense. Advise and be advised. Correct and be corrected. Encourage and be encouraged. Disagree and accept disagreement. You have a perspective and your child has a perspective. Both must be respected. However, differences are transcended by caring, trust, and mutual respect, an acknowledgement really that each is different. You can cultivate more reciprocity (more giving and taking in a co-operative spirit) by encouraging openness, by showing acceptance (not belittling, criticizing, condescending, or forcing), and by emphasizing positive and constructive comments before focusing on disagreements. In a partnership, there is no room for a tyrant, nor for a neutral observer. To be a partner, there must be a free give and take, and this must often be earned, even if you have a very good relationship with your child already. Strive for a mutual balance of power. This is similar to reciprocity, but different. For example, one could say: Now that we have had our little give and take, do as I want! Ideally, you will influence your child, and in turn, be influenced by him or her. That is, there will be a balance of power or influence. On some topics, you will have more influence. For example, it is you who must eventually decide how much financial support you can give. On other topics, your child should have more influence. For example, you can advise, but your child is responsible for deciding upon which occupation to pursue. After all, he or she will be living that decision. You cannot take responsibility for your child's career, but can influence it. Like reciprocity, a balance of power requires respect, trust, and openness. It requires taking the other into account. It requires good faith rather than hidden agendas. The fact is that you do care what your child thinks, values, and does. There is no point in hiding behind a phony neutrality. However, it is also true thatyour child is a person in his or her own right, and you cannot command or demand forever. It is this type of situation that calls for balance, a willingness to influence and to be influenced. Create warimth. A partnership of this nature is not like a business transaction. A warm, supportive relationship is essential for the type of exploration, evaluation, and planning that this program requires. If the climate is like that of a final examination, a trial, or an execution, the partnership is more apt to be destructive than constructive. It is warmth that will allow discussion to flow freely, for a working alliance on the issue of career development to occur, and for the program to work. If you cannot establish a reasonable partnership, terminate the program. With a poor working relationship, it is doubtful if anyone would benefit. For most people, there will be moments of discouragement, but many more moments of meaningful achievement. And most people will have little trouble forming a working relationship, but if not, there is apt to be a good reason and one should attend to this reason rather than the program. 72 Goals of the Program It is commonly assumed that there is one right job for each person and the goal of career counselling is to discover that job. Then, the person works hard presumably, succeeds in getting the right job, and lives a happy, contented life. While this might happen once in a while, it is largely nonsense. There is no one right job. A person has a variety of potentials and a variety of options that might be satisfying. People should continue to explore until they have to make a definite commitment. It would be perfectly natural for your child to change his or her mind within ? week, month or year. People change. They find out new information. They lose interest. Other occupations might arise as better options. Even if your child stuck with the decision made during this program, people change occupations frequently. Let us consider a more realistic story from which we might set more reasonable goals. Pursuing a career is filled with uncertainties, risks, opportunities, setbacks, decisions, compromises, adjustments, and sometimes crises. The job market is in flux. New jobs are arising while some old jobs are dwindling and vanishing. People have more difficulty finding an anchor. There is a large element of chance in a career, being in the right place at the right time or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. In this shifting, uncertain environment, some people flounder from job to job without much sign of progress. They can't get what they want, or think they want, and don't want what they can get. Some people drift aimlessly, unsure of what they want and where they are going. Some people become stuck in jobs and stagnate, wondering how they ever fell into such a trap. And some people do indeed progress in a career that is meaningful, satisfying, and productive. Given this situation, the aim of this program is to tilt the odds more in one's favor, to minimize chance and increase purposeful direction. How can the odds be tilted in one's favor? This program involves four ways to improve one's chances for a meaningful career. First, this program was intended to improve self-understanding. Without a better under standing of oneself, there is little basis for making wise decisions now or in the future. Does you child have a better grasp of his or her wants and strengths? If so, he or she is in a better position to pursue a career. Second, a person might have some self-understanding, but little awareness of viable options that would be optimal or even just suitable. It requires knowledge to match one's interests, values, and capabilities to appropriate occupations. The key question is: Does your child have viable options in mind? Third, one might have knowledge of oneself and occupations, but lack competence in decision making. Even with knowledge, one must be able to use that knowledge to evaluate options and to make good decisions. Does your child have greater competence in making decisions? Last, on-going support and encouragement from one's family is an important basis for successfully pursuing a career. Perhaps it is not always necesary, but it is a decided advantage that can make a difference in your child's future. The question here is: Did you achieve a good working relationship on the issue of career development? These four goals provide more enduring grounds for the future development of your child. Certainly, I hope that your child will also emerge with a reasonable decision and a workable plan, but these are really quite secondary. Of much more importance at this time is whether your child has established a foundation for the road ahead. 


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