I will not make my kids go to college.
Just that sentence alone looks ridiculous to me. “Make” my kids go to college? They’ll be 18 and I will be unable to force them to do any certain thing with their lives. Now I suppose I could withdraw privileges or reward behavior I appreciate in order to “guide” them towards making a choice I approve of, but that sounds incredibly manipulative to me.
I am absolutely trying to raise my kids to know how to make good choices.
Financial accountability, wise friendships, good work ethic–those are all items that I’m trying to instill in my children while they’re still children so that I don’t feel like I need to make decisions for them as adults.
Does that mean I don’t want my kids to go to college?
Absolutely not. Here’s what I want. If my child wants to do a career that requires a college degree, I want them to go to college. If they want to enter a career that requires trade school, I want them to go to trade school. Do they want to be a cosmetologist? I bet you can guess – I want them to go to cosmetology school. If they want to do something that doesn’t require any schooling? I want them to do whatever schooling they want, preferably with a cost that is manageable based on their career choice.
But all of that is up to them.
Now, I do expect my children to be responsible for themselves once they’re out of high school.
Barring any life circumstances that would require extra care for our children beyond their high school years, their dad and I will expect them to do SOMETHING. I would assume we won’t let them live at home until the end of time without ever going to school or getting a job. We just don’t care what they do, as long as they learn how to be responsible for themselves.
Why is this important?
My own background makes this issue incredibly important to me. This might seem ridiculous to some of you, but all I ever wanted to do was be a stay-at-home mom. Even as a kid I pretty much knew that was what I wanted. However, I graduated high school with a 4.0 GPA and was very skilled in math, so of course, with a push for women in engineering and math fields, EVERYONE thought that’s what I should do.
While still in high school I got an accounting job that paid well enough to be my career until I was ready to start my family. But eventually, I gave in to the pressure of society. (Not my parents, mind you. They didn’t have money and were okay not going into debt for schooling that I didn’t really care about.) I took online classes to get my associate’s degree in accounting. Fortunately by the time I graduated I was engaged and didn’t go any further in my schooling.
Do you know how much fun it is to pay off student loans you didn’t need as a single-income household with children?
I don’t actually either, because we made and accomplished a goal to pay off all our student loans by our wedding day, but I ASSUME it’s not fun.
Now, I am in NO way saying that this is everyone’s story or that you shouldn’t go to school because you want to be a mom. It worked for me because I already had a well-paying job, but obviously there’s no guarantee in life when babies will come, so being a stay-at-home mom isn’t necessarily a firm just out of high school plan.
The point is – I want to raise my children to make good choices. And then I want to let them do that.
They can certainly ask my advice, but I never want to push them into doing something they hate due to my expectations.
Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive Cedar Rapids Moms posts in your inbox. While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms’ events and promotions!!