How does your teen envision her future? What are his hopes and dreams? How will your teen become an independent, responsible adult?
What do you think about your teen and college, do they seem like a natural match? From your perspective, is it a foregone conclusion that he will go, are there some questions to be considered, or is the topic barely on your family’s radar screen? What is your teen’s thinking on the topic, what does she feel about the subject? Have you had that conversation in depth and over time? It’s never to late (or too early) to have those exploratory conversations.
What the purpose of going to college? Is a college degree necessary? Desireable? Those questions seems almost forgotten in our fast-paced lives… though it’s critically important for you and your teen to talk through and answer.
I believe that the continuing education and environment that college can provide enables teens to transition into becoming young adults even more capable of taking advantage of all life has to offer. College poses opportunities to become even more responsible for all the aspects of their lives: to make decisions about who they want to be, to solve problems of both an academic and interpersonal/social/emotional nature, and to learn to engage with others on a variety of levels-to cooperate, negotiate and resolve conflict, in ways that will serve them for the remainder of their lives.
Can teens develop the same knowledge, skills and attitudes outside of a college setting? Absolutely! Though perhaps college, or a technical school or an apprenticeship provides a more supportive, structured approach to their development. Certainly, there are entry level positions that offer opportunities for mentorship and growth.
These are the questions that lead to the conversations we need to have with teens early in their high school years. By helping our teens explore the possibilities, learn what school systems and the world outside school have to offer (art classes, sports, study abroad, internships, apprenticeships and more) we encourage them to make informed decisions about their futures… whether that includes college in the US, looking for universities or academic programs abroad, making time to enter the world of work before going to college, working and attending college, going to a technical school or beginning an apprenticeship, there are so many choices…
I believe that as parents we owe it to our teens to show the breadth of possibilities so that they can take the reins of the decision-making process and step into adulthood. What do you think? What questions do you have about the transition your teen, you and your family are experiencing? Feel free to contact me.