My 18-year-old daughter has just graduated from high school. She has now informed me that she’s not going on to college, like we had previously discussed, and becomes upset when we try to talk to her. My question is, should we let her make her own decision about this — and pay for it for the rest of her life — or continue to push her into some kind of life skill set?
From St. Paul, Minnesota
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I understand your disappointment in regards to your daughter not seeking higher education. But as far as you “letting” her make her own decision, it sounds to me like you and your spouse aren’t treating her as adult, thus she might be better off immediately moving out, and getting away from the likes of you two. She might decide later to finance her own college through student loans, finally paying the government back in full by the time she’s 80. It’s possible you can coerce her into going to college and even picking her major. But after realizing how manipulative you are, she might graduate with honors, and then decide to do volunteer work in a foreign country, choosing a career that has nothing to do with her worthless diploma. Or, it could be she’s rejecting further learning because she’s really dumb, and she doesn’t want to be around a set of new classmates that are constantly laughing at her inability to grasp simple concepts. But I suspect that you and your husband believe that if she isn’t successful sometime down the road, she’ll hold it against both of you for not pushing her to acquire a degree. Don’t worry about that, because whether she eventually becomes a homeless person sleeping on park benches, or a multi-billionaire, she’ll blame any problems or failures she has in her life on her parents… which obviously includes you. Especially if she becomes a teacher at a grammar school, and gets busted dating a 12 year old boy that she felt was the man of her dreams. I hope this helps.