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Ask Rene: Help! My Kid Doesn’t Want To Go To College!


Ask Rene:
Help! My Kid Doesn’t Want To Go To College!


Hi Rene,

Love the site and all your great pieces – keep ‘em coming!

Here’s my problem. My daughter Kara is about to turn 16 so we’re starting to think about her college education. We’ve saved a reasonable amount in her university fund and her grades would be good enough for her to have a strong choice of colleges to choose between.

Unfortunately Kara is adamant that she’s not going to college. She says she’s bored of school and doesn’t want to study anymore. She wants to have some fun after she graduates and go traveling.

Her father and I wouldn’t mind so much if she had a definite career plan in mind – but Kara basically just wants to party and we’re worried she’s throwing her future away.

How can we convince her daughter that she’s on the wrong track and making decisions that could seriously jeopardize her future?


Debbie, Colorado



Hi Debbie:

Okay, let’s start by backing away from the ledge. In your head you are imagining at best your daughter working for minimum wage in a sweatshop or at worst, living on the street. Neither one of those is likely to happen but if you keep pushing her, trying to bend her will to yours, the outcome will most assuredly not be what you want. Let’s look at the facts.


5. Have A Chat With Kara

Image 5 of 5

Why not have a conversation with her, adult to (almost) adult and ask her what she wants to do with her life? Maybe you can all agree that she will travel for a few years and then enroll in college. Maybe you can outline the parameters (like that she has to earn her own money and will not use her college fund to foot the bill). The point is I think you need to make this less about you and what you want for your daughter and more about helping her to achieve the dreams and goals she has for herself. I actually think you might have better luck if you stop pulling back on the bit so hard.

I’ve always been a big believer in natural consequences so if she ends up working a dead end job and is unhappy about it, she will change it, when she is motivated to do so. But the thing we most want as mothers is for our kids to be happy. Will she be happy doing what you want her to do, living the life you have laid out for her or carving out the plan she sees for herself? Give it some thought, but I think you know the answer.

Good luck mommy.

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(Editor's Note: This piece ran in its original format on 11/1/2010)

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