I Disagree with My Parents


Judy Moseman provides insight into what to do when you disagree with your parents about what type of college to attend.

Q. My parents want me to go to a big state school. That's what they both did, and they loved it. But I think I'd rather go to a smaller Christian college. How can I convince them that what worked for them might not be the best place for me?

A. What a great opportunity for you to have "grown-up" conversations with your parents! Working through this college decision with them could really enhance your communication and strengthen your relationship. Maybe you could take them out for coffee, buy them each a triple mocha latte, and work together to come up with a plan for choosing a college. The goal should not necessarily be to "convince them," but to fully explore the possibilities and hope that you all come to the same conclusion.

Acknowledge the good experience they had at the state school, and be honest about why you're interested in a Christian college. Ask them to allow you to at least explore the Christian college option. But assure them that you want to do this with them. Let them know you promise to update them about what you're finding out, and that you'll come to them often for advice and guidance.

Be sure to include their alma mater on your list of schools to consider. Send for written information and check the Web sites for each school on your list. It may be easy for you and your parents to rule out some of your options right away based on things like location, or lack of a program in which you have an interest, such as an academic major or an extracurricular activity. Then invite your parents to go with you as you visit some of the schools that interest you.

If you are drawn toward one of the smaller Christian colleges, do what you can to help your parents understand why this would be a good fit for you. Try to help them realize that you are your own person with different needs and preferences, and that what was good for them "back then" just may not be the best for you today. Talk with them about how the schools you like fit who you are and the kind of college experience you want to have. If possible, find a friend of theirs who went to a Christian college. Ask your parents to talk to this person about their experience and why going to a Christian college would be a good thing for you to do. I'd also encourage your parents to talk to a Christian school's admissions personnel about the benefits of going there.

Being actively involved in the discussion with your parents in a mature and respectful manner will be good for all of you. And, of course, pray that God will work in all of the circumstances and conversations to guide you toward the school that is best for you, and to help you and your parents agree on which college that will be.

Written by Judy Moseman




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