Education is an important factor in how well one will do in life. While there are plenty of success stories of people who forewent the typical educational path, most people need a college degree to succeed in life. Unfortunately, most teens don't always see this. They want to go their own way, and they rarely want to spend any more time thinking about school than necessary. As a parent, one of your many jobs is to encourage your child to pursue a better future. Though, doing so without alienating your child can be difficult. Fortunately, there are a few paths you can take that will meet with less resistance.
Discuss the Future in Their Terms
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to talk to your child honestly about what they want about their future. Don't push, don't include your own ideas, and above all else, don't tell them what they should do. Instead, gently guide him or her by mentioning possible college majors that align with their interests. Act like a career counselor, not a parent, and give your child the information, but allow them to come to the right conclusion on their own.
Show the Difference
It's also a good idea to couch the idea of college as an experience separate from the educational aspect. By all means, talk about classes, but talk about what it was like to live on your own, to make friends as an adult, and to have the freedom to choose for the first time in your life. Many children want to avoid college because they think of it as similar to high school. Once they understand that getting a degree is far different than going to a high school class, they may begin to see it as a positive development. See if you can get a list of courses necessary for a bachelor’s degree in business management from WGU. These online schools often allow students to complete the work on their own time, allowing for your teen to have a more flexible schedule for work or travel. Once you show that there are many different avenues for education, they might be more open to an alternative approach.
Helping your child pursue higher education requires stepping back and allowing them to conclude things on their own. Make sure you are a good resource for knowledge and a sounding board rather than the person who tries to push the teen onto a specific path. If you push too hard, they will rebel. If you are calm, supportive, and rational, your child will be able to look at college in a more mature manner. Once they have the necessary data, they can make better choices on their own. At that point, you can sit back and congratulate yourself on a job well done.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.