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Father Questions Son's College Choice

Toddler and Teenager Expert Advice from Carleton Kendrick, Ed.M., LCSW

Q: My son has decided to attend a local college, despite his acceptance into a school that's well-known for his intended field of study. This prestigious school isn't close to our home. My wife believes he's made this decision so that he can stay close to his girlfriend, rather than on the merit of the schools. I've accepted his decision, and have been reassured by him that he made his decision based on where he feels comfortable and not because of his relationship. Am I being naive?

A: Your son may or may not be telling you the truth behind his decision not to attend the "better" college. If he chose to attend a college solely because of its proximity to his current girlfriend, that would be an unfortunate decision on his part. Let's hope that the college he has chosen will be a good fit for him and that he will have the opportunity to pursue all of his academic interests.

I hope that your son takes full advantage of all the opportunities offered to him in college life and does not cloister himself away with his girlfriend, shunning activities that will add breadth to his college experience.

I would adopt a supportive attitude about his choice of college, telling him that you will respect his choice until he gives you cause not to honor it. Your wife should know that she contributes nothing positive if she maintains a disappointed, "you're only going there so you can be close to your girlfriend. You don't fool me," attitude toward your son.

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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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