By Christine Murray, HRI Director

Of all the difficult topics for parents and teens to discuss, future college and career plans should be a relatively simple one, right? Well, compared to sex, drugs, curfews, and other heated topics, college and career plans may seem pretty tame. However, these topics can be more complicated than you might think, especially if parents and teens have different views about what those future plans might look like. We’re excited to partner with Say Yes to Education Guilford for tonight’s Say Yes to College event. Here’s a preview of a few of the tips we’ll be talking about in more detail tonight:

  1. Try to have conversations about future career and college plans in a low-pressure context. Teens can feel a lot of pressure to live up to their parents’ expectations. For some teens, this is motivating, but it can have the opposite effect for others if they feel their parents are only satisfied with extremely high achievement. Parents can work toward filling these conversations with encouragement and support and minimizing pressure.
  2. Focus on listening to your teen to understand their values and goals. Understand that your teen’s views of future success may differ from your own, and take the extra time to listen to your teen’s perspectives on these issues. The more they feel you understand them, the more likely they’ll be to seek your guidance on this subject.
  3. Understand that every person has their own unique educational and career path. For some people, attending a large state school is exciting, whereas others view the same school as overwhelming. As you talk about future career and college plans with your teen, keep in mind that their path may look very different from your own, and even from their siblings and friends. As a parent, you can play an important role in guiding your child to figuring out and then succeeding along the path that is right for them!
  4. Reach out for help! Connect with resources to help you and your teen get the support needed to figure out future plans and take steps toward turning your plans into reality. Tonight’s Say Yes to College is one example of a resource that can help you with these conversations. Other resources may include your high school counselor, a professional counselor in the community, college admissions advisors, people in jobs your teen is considering for their career path, and books and websites. Don’t be afraid to reach out of additional support and information to help you and your teen make the best decisions for their future.

We hope to see you at tonight’s Say Yes to College event, but even if you can’t attend that, know that you can foster a positive dialogue with your teen to help set them on the path toward future college and/or career success!