Applied Psychology

How to tell your parents you’re changing to a Psychology Degree

Dec 08, 2020
How to tell your parents you changing to a Psychology Degree

Thinking about changing to a Psychology Degree? You’ve finished up the year and along the way realised that you’re actually not as interested in or passionate about where your course is taking you. First things first: Well done on realising that you need to change tracks to have the career in psychology you want. And now its time for a game plan so you can make the switch.

“Successful change requires a well-planned game plan.”

Before you approach those you need to chat to – Prepare! They’re going to want to know the answer to questions that you should be able to answer if you’ve thought this through. This article aims to assist you to hear their concerns and address them confidently.

Three Steps Towards Persuasion

There is no quality as compelling, intoxicating and attractive as certainty. It is the person who has an unbridled sense of certainty who will always be able to persuade others. If you really believe that changing to a psychology degree is the right thing for you, you will be able to persuade your parents.

“Prepare before you talk through the changes you want to make.”

1. Lay the Foundations

In order to convince them that you are committed to this change and new way forward, as well as prepared to engage in the long haul, you’ll need to do some research and thinking.

  • Remind them of your abilities, interests and values. Demonstrating, in the process, a sound sense of self-awareness.
  • Convince them that you’ve done your homework, by knowing:

“Discuss the long-term opportunities changing to a psychology degree will bring.”

2. Define the Financial Context

If you are afraid to tell your parents for financial reasons, map out a budget and cost for switching your degree, including tuition and living expenses. Also add the starting salary for the field of psychology you’re hoping to enter.

  • Set targets against which your parents can measure your commitment to the change – the achievement, say of certain marks at the end of your first term
  • Offer to help out financially by getting a holiday job

3. Set Expextations

Persuasion is about managing other’s expectations to trust in your judgment. At its core, it is simply about understanding and over-delivering on other’s expectations.

  • Demonstrate to your parents that you’ve done your research and explain to them how you are going to meet the academic targets you have set for yourself
  • Plot your course of study, making it clear to your parents that you believe psychology to be your true calling

Then set about proving to them your dedication to your chosen path by job shadowing, securing internships or volunteering at community NPOs.

Three Things to Remember

Don’t Confuse Persuasion for Manipulation

Whether it’s because they’re paying for your studies or simply because they’ve raised you, your parents have a vested interest in you. So, it turns out, do you! Your career security and satisfaction will bring them peace of mind in their old age. For you to have these things, you need to find a job that matches your skills with your interests, and that gives you the chance to contribute to the wellbeing of those around you…. all while still paying the bills. You are not trying to coerce them into agreeing to something that is wrong for either you or them. You are doing what you’re passionate about, in a career that brings you financial security and a sense of fulfilment. This can only be a win-win for all.

“Be upfront and honest in your ‘why’ and ‘how’.”

Don’t Forget that Persistence Pays

Consider Abraham Lincoln, who lost his mother, three sons, a sister, his girlfriend, failed in business and lost eight separate elections before he was elected president of the United States. Stay persistent in your endeavour and message: personality wise you’re best suited to entering the helping professions, this is a degree that offers numerous secure career inroads and you’re prepared to give it all you’ve got. The person who is willing to keep asking for what they want, and keeps demonstrating that they value what they’re asking for, is ultimately the most persuasive.

Don’t Avoid the Truth

Facing a hard truth is one of the most meaningful events that happen in our lives. It is important to convey to your parents that, while their input is valued, this is your career. Explain why you find your current study choice unfulfilling, and get your parents to understand that pursuing a career path which holds no interest for you is not to anyone’s benefit.

Ready to make the switch? The South African College of Applied Psychology offers a range of qualifications in the field of psychology, including a fully accredited Bpsych Degree. What’s more, our flexible study options mean you can fit your studies around your life. We have three intakes per year for both day and evening students. Study full time or part time, on campus in Johannesburg or Cape Town, or Online. To make the switch, click here.

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