8 Reasons I Won't Pressure My Kids About College

1. College isn't the Be All, End All for Happiness: It can be tempting for parents to believe that enrolling kids in college is going to ensure a stable, secure financial life and lead to happiness and health. But the truth is, many people with college degrees are just as unhappy and unhealthy as people who chose a different path. Education isn't a universal answer to life's problems.

2. Other Avenues are Just as Noble: Hard work deserves our respect, no matter what type of work we are talking about. If my son becomes a ditch digger, I'll be proud as long as he works hard and takes responsibility for himself along the way.

3. Their Best Talents may be Quirky Ones: The traditional path of good grades and then higher education is best suited for someone who is meticulous, likes to sit still and focus, and does well in a structured and "typical" world. But what if my kid learns best through finger painting or making up line dances? If I push my child toward the typical path, I may push her away from her gifts. 

4. College Isn't For Everyone: Some people are unhappy and unhealthy in the environment of higher education. Depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addictions are just a few of the problems that can crop up when people try to force themselves into the mold of university student. For some, it not only doesn't feel good, it can be the trigger for serious emotional problems. 

5. It's not My Choice to Make: When I work with families where parents push young adults toward the path the parents think is best, their kids suffer a number of negative effects. For one, it strains the parent child relationship. For another, having someone else run their lives leaves young adults insecure and lacking in confidence. 

6. My opinions are Biased: I'm less qualified to direct my children's lives than I may feel I am. Not only am I extremely biased when I imagine their flawless future lives, I'm also scared as hell that if they fail, it will mean I've done a bad job as their parent. 

7. I Trust Them: I have to trust my kids to find their own way. Why believe I know more about what's best for them than they do? And besides, if I don't trust them, how will they learn to trust themselves? 

8. Cost versus Benefit: College is expensive, and some graduates are steeped in debt after graduation and unable to find a decent paying job. 

Posted on March 7, 2016 .