When I was younger it was my dream to study journalism after high school but my father told me that this wasn’t the plan and that instead I would be reading economics and math, and then following in his footsteps to go into the bank. This was a choice which I wasn’t happy with but then these were the days when you had to do as you were told, or at least I did. All of this came back to me last year when I saw my son, who was planning to study law, reading through the American Musical and Dramatic Academy reviews. I asked him if he was thinking about studying the arts, and he told me that he had already decided that he had. I didn’t like the idea but given my own experience I supported him with it, and here is why you should too if your child makes a college choice which you don’t like.
I hated my father for making me study something that I didn’t want and whilst we did eventually get over it, our relationship was never the same again. This isn’t the same as your parents telling you what to do and what not to do, this is them committing your next 3 or 4 years to something which you simply don’t want to do, and that will breed resentment if you force your child into a different choice.
My father had dreams that I would walk in his footsteps and become a bank manager like him. As it turned out after college I began an internship as a journalist and that was where I forged my career, writing about finance admittedly! The point is that your dreams aren’t those of your child and you cannot force your dreams and ambitions upon them, it just isn’t fair. You should support your child wherever possible in there pursuit of achieving their dreams and you should be happy that they have the confidence to go after them.
This will likely be the first adult decision which your child has ever made and up to this point, you have been raising them to be a conscientious and responsible adult, it is time to put that to the test. This means allowing them the freedom to make errors, the freedom to allow them to make a decision based on what they believe and the freedom to take control of a decision.
Mistakes make us what we are, they are how we learn and they are a key part of our development. You may believe that your child is making a mistake, and they may well be, but it is up to you to let them make that mistake and then use that as a learning curve, you cannot protect them forever and this is the type of decision which you have to let them make on their own.
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