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Q: Our son is taking a year off before going to college and we're worried he'll never go back to school. Should we insist he attend some classes at the local junior college to show he can do college work before he applies elsewhere, or should we let him have his year off?
A: Support your son's taking a year to work while he decides why and where he should attend college. If his work schedule permits, he might also wish to investigate taking a course or two that interests him at an area community college. Taking courses that interest him, as opposed to having taken required courses in high school, might be a refreshing change. Don't be overly concerned that this pause after high school will keep him from attending college. Far too many kids go straight to college because their families expect it of them. Taking some time to be in "the real world" and to think about the reasons why he wants a college experience is a mature approach to this next part of his life.
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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.