Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Help! My teenager refuses to go to college.

I'm sick of school! I'm not going to college and you can't force me to!"

Your teenager is right, you know. At the age of eighteen he or she is legally an adult...old enough to sign a legal document, old enough to join the military and old enough to refuse to go to college.

He now has the right of self-determination, and no matter how you feel about the decision your young adult has made, it may seem that there is not much you can do about it.

You, as a parent, are probably feeling anger, disappointment, and frustration. This young person may have always earned good grades. You have envisioned a bright future for him. Now your teen seems determined to throw it all away.

He is rebellious, defiant and unflinching. There will be no college in his immediate future and that is that!

The atmosphere after discussions of this type is usually tense and heated. Follow-up negotiations are best left until a later time when tempers have cooled.

While you're preparing for Round Two, review your position. You also have the right of self -determination and you are in a much more favorable position. You have age, experience and resources on your side. In contrast, the teen has only youth, inexperience, lack of training or skills for making a living, and few resources at his disposal.

Your best option is to accept his decision graciously, while making clear that you do not think it is the wisest choice. Then you will present these conditions.

* If the young person wishes to be treated as an adult, so be it. However, sitting around home watching TV is not an option for a responsible adult. If he wishes to live at home, he or she must get a job and start paying board. Check the local paper for fair rates for  room and board in your area.

* Meals are served at specific times in your home. Anyone missing one mealtime must wait for the next one.

* He must do his own washing. Mom no longer provides laundry service.

* No in-room guests are allowed after 11:00 P.M.

* No more use of the family car. There will no longer be chauffeur service by a parent. When the teen needs transportation, a taxi or public transport must be utilized while he saves up for a car of his own.

* You may share that you have money saved for college, and it will be used only for that purpose. If this child does not wish to take advantage of it, it will be put away for the use of the first grandchild, (or niece or nephew) who attends an institute of higher learning.

After that, all you have to is stick to your resolve. Chances are, your young rebel will be in college within a year. Contemporary life is not easy for an unskilled worker with only a high school diploma.

It will not be easy watching your teen struggle to survive under the strict conditions you have imposed. Many parents find applying tough love principles are just as challenging for them as for the teenager.

It is important that you have remain resolute and unyielding. Just remind yourself that your child's future well-being depends on your steadfastness now.

Someday, when he is settled, with steady, profitable employment, and enjoying a comfortable lifestyle, he will reward you with sincere and heartfelt thanks.

However, your ultimate reward will come when you watch him using the same tactics on his own teenager.

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