What to Do When Your Child Refuses to Attend College

By Dr. Jack Singer

What to do When Your Child Refuses to Attend College by Dr. Jack SingerAs a parent, you certainly want the best for your children. While a college education is important, it is only one of many roads to success. But you are convinced that college is the best road for your child and you are meeting with resistance,  trying using the  following tactics to convince your children of the value of a college education. Keep in mind however, that all you can do is guide and suggest. The final decision is ultimately up to your son or daughter.

1. Give Him/Her a Chance to Explain. Be glad that you’ve raised a teen that has his own ideas about life and wants to carve his own path to success. Give him a chance to explain exactly why he believes that chasing a college education is the wrong direction for him. Of course, try to keep an open mind.

  • As a parent, hearing, “I don’t want to go to college right now” can seem like the end of the world. However, refusing to attend college right now still leaves the door open for him to get a degree in the future.
  • After twelve consecutive years of schooling, it’s understandable that your child wants to take a break from academics to focus on finding out what life’s all about.
  • Strive to be supportive and listen with an open mind.

2. Come to an Agreement. If your son or daughter’s mind is made up about foregoing college this year, meet him or her halfway.

  • Allow him or her to take a year or two off from schooling in order to pursue different dreams. If your child tests the waters and finds them to be deeper than he or she expects, they’ll probably return to school. If your child is successful without higher education, celebrate his or her success. But, I advise that you put certain financial expectations in play here. You do not want to be in a position of having to pay for your 35 year old son or daughters’ college tuition because you didn’t limit parental expectations. There comes a point when they are very definitely on their own and they need to recognize this from the very beginning. If that college fund that you have been saving towards for so long is not used for college, at some point you are very much within your rights to use it for something else. Be sure that your child understands that this is not THEIR money. It is YOURS, and will be used as you see fit should they not attend college.

3. Provide an Incentive. If you truly believe that your child’s only true shot at attaining a successful career is by attending college, entice him or her to your point of view. Offer a financial incentive or other type of reward that he or she can earn with solid, specific academic progress.

  • If you offer an incentive for your child to attend school, he may attend only for the reward. If so, he may lack the academic effort, waste his time and throw away your money in the process. If you tie the reward to specific academic goals, you’ll ensure that he’s serious about school.

It’s only natural to want the best for your children. And college generally is the best route to success for most individuals. However, it’s important to understand that college is only one of many paths to success in life. Your role in your child’s success is to support and encourage him to chase after his dreams. Ultimately, he has to decide on the path that’s right for him.

Trust in your parenting skills. You’ve raised a talented, intelligent, and self-sufficient young adult. It can be hard to let go, but you’ve instilled in your child the values you deem important. As he goes through the trials of life, he’ll stay true to those values with or without a college degree.

Leave a Comment:

Leave a Comment: