Are you guiding your teen in the right direction?

My Ideal College shares how to help your teen through the college process

I recently had a worried mom, Ruth, reach out to me. She said “Our daughter Hasana is a junior at UGA. She says she hates her classes and wants to drop out. We want her to get her degree, but we are at a loss on how to help her. We have already invested thousands of dollars into her college education.”

As a parent, I felt my stomach turn. No parent wants to hear this from their kid. All the hours and MONEY! spent finding and applying to colleges. You thought you set your teen up for success.

I spoke with Hasana. She. shared with me that her parents wanted her to get a degree in computer science. Her dad is a network engineer. There are many jobs in that field, and the salary is good. So, Hasana decided to pursue that career. However, after she started college and began taking classes, she realized she really didn’t like working with computers that much. Quite frankly, she was miserable and feeling very lost. Hasana also felt like she was letting her parents down.

As parents, we have the best of intentions with our teens. It’s our responsibility to help guide and teach them to become responsible adults who can live on their own and work in a career that they thrive in. However, our good intentions and guidance may be doing more harm than good.

How can you avoid the struggle and overwhelming stress Hasana and her parents are experiencing? Here are some tips:

  • Say to your teen, “Be honest with me. Do you feel like I am pushing you in a direction that you don’t feel is right for you?”
  • Make sure to pause after you ask this question. Give them time to process. If they say yes, then…
    • Talk with them about why, specifically, they don’t like the career path.
    • Ask what careers are they interested in and why? Keep an open mind, and don’t dismiss a career because you perceive it to not be fruitful.
    • Work with your kid to research the job outlook and salary of those careers. Get a clear idea of what the future and path is for those careers.
    • Find professionals in that field for your teen to have an informational interview with to learn more about the career. Many professions have organizations that you can contact for referrals.

Hasana’s mom shared that working with me really opened her eyes. She had no idea how much she and her husband were pushing their daughter in a path she really didn’t want. Getting a degree was something that was very important for Hasana’s mom and dad. Now, they are open to other options and degrees. Their relationship with their daughter is better too, now that they have more open conversations about the path she wants to take.

Could you use more guidance on how to get your teen on the right path? Email me at laurie@myidealcollege.org to set up a complimentary strategy session.

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