Most parents want their children to do better than they, but sometimes this doesn't happen. You may have been the kind of parent that saved for your son's or daughter's education, encouraged them to do well in school, and made yourself available to him or her when they needed you. Yet, these days your beloved son or daughter is talking about things that have nothing to do with college. He or she is spending more time with their boyfriend or girlfriend and less time job searching or making plans to attend college. Did you ever think that maybe attending college isn't what he or she wants to do at this time in his or her life? If you suspect that is what is happening, then it's time for you to step back and allow them to make a few life decisions on their own.
Some students just aren't mature enough, focused enough, or even passionate enough about the things that parents assume they should be. They may have thought about higher education and even filled out the necessary applications to gain entry, but when the time comes for them to get ready and go, you fear they will be doing everything they can to get out of going! Should you force an 18 year old man or woman to attend a college they have changed their mind about? The answer is yes and no. If he or she is suddenly apprehensive about going that could very well be nervousness especially if he or she has never been away from home before. However, if this attitude isn't sudden and has been gaining some momentum for some time now, chances are someone or something is keeping them from attending college right now. You will need to ask questions, sit back and listen, and try very hard not to pass judgment and be harsh or critical. Remember you didn't always respond well when someone told you what you are going or better do!
You will also need to evaluate why you are pushing them so hard to attend a very expensive college that you know that he or she can't afford and will more than likely be taking out student loans to attend. Could it be that you just want your child out of the house? If so, you could very well be sending a message to him or her that would force your son or daughter into a very costly mistake that will affect their credit for the rest of their life! Many college dropouts have thousands of dollars in student loans, because they continued to attend college due to someone pushing them, not necessarily because they wanted to go. Don't push your 18 year old into something that they are obviously letting you know they aren't ready for.
Remember many years ago when young women would leave their parent's home, get married and move in with their husband. Well guess what? There are many young women who still have that same mentality. Despite the efforts of the women's movement over the years, which many of the young women of today didn't experience, not everyone wants to be a career woman. There are many young women who simply want to be a wife and mother. If you frown at the possibility that your daughter could be one of them, consider this, at least she wants something out of life. The world nowadays has more women striving for financial gain than ever before, but their children are paying a dear price. Everyone is raising them, but mommy! There are many women divorcing, because being a wife and a mother is just not appealing to them. If a young woman wants to make a dynamic contribution to society by being a good wife and mother than let us all respect her decision and support her on it. Let's also embrace her potential husband and father as well. Provide him with some wisdom and common sense that will help him become a leader in his own home.
So what are the signs that you should be watching for if indeed you're once college bound son or daughter is now acting like he wants a job and a family?
One. Your son or daughter talks more about having a family one day.
He or she shares with you about getting a job and marrying his or her high school sweetheart. Although you may not agree with his or her conversation or potential plans, try not to be critical, but offer advice in love. Don't talk negatively about family, because this may backfire on you if later there is a pregnancy. Your son or daughter will remember what you said and will come back to you being just as negative and possibly not wanting to care for their responsibility.
Two. Your daughter seems to be increasing in weight, seems to be ill often, tired, and very moody.
She may be pregnant. If so, try to avoid the temptation to encourage her to abort her child. Rather, conduct research online on programs to help her get assistance if need be and call a meeting between her and the boyfriend to discuss what role he will be playing in the child's life and provide him with advice on getting a job and finding an apartment. He may want to use college as a means of escape from his responsibility that is why it is important to have a meeting with all parties. He may have to choose a college locally and attend part-time at night while working during the day.
Three. You may have noticed that your son or daughter seems to be asking you more questions about your own marriage and family history.
If so, he or she may be concerned about family issues because she or he has been talking with their partner about the future. Be open and honest and probe to find out what their thoughts are about marriage and family. Avoid being evasive or negative when they ask questions, because once again you are sending a message to them that being married and having children is bad. As you know, at some point whether now or later, he or she will want to marry and have children and being negative will only cause more harm than good.
Four. Your daughter or son may say that they only thought about going to college because of you or someone else.
This is an obvious sign that they are definitely not interested and you will need to allow them to make decisions that you may not agree such as taking a minimum wage job or starting their own business with graduation money.
These four signs will help you best determine what is going on inside your son or daughter's head concerning college. Consider what you have been saying and doing. Sometimes parents can actually scare their children away from college just by acting jealous, being fearful, showing controlling behavior, and other similar things. Have you been bragging to family and friends about your son or daughter while ignoring how your attitude is making him or her feel? Did you drop out of college yourself or made some decisions in your own life that you regretted and so now you are living your dreams through your young man or woman? If so, then you will need to do the following: re-evaluate how you have been behaving, change what you are doing and saying, and apologize. Hopefully your son or daughter will make a decision that is best for him or her and not necessarily what is best for you - it's all a part of growing up! Just breathe mom or dad eventually they will see the light!
By Nicholl McGuire