You've got it all planned out: You're going to take a year off between school and work; you've decided you want to intern for the summer; you've chosen to follow your dreams and travel. Whatever it is, it's not going to college. You love the idea, but chances are that your parents aren't completely on board with your decision. If you have plans but your parents have different plans completely, you'll need to make them understand your goals for the future. Sure, you'll be an adult soon and can pretty much do whatever you want, but taking the time to communicate with the parental units can definitely make for a more peaceful Thanksgiving.
If you're having trouble seeing eye-to-eye with your parents on your non-college career plans, try these tips to smooth things over and get them on board.
Respect Their Position
Real talk: If your parents are against the idea of skipping college, it's probably because they're scared. After like, 18 years of making all the major decisions for you, you're suddenly making decisions for yourself–and they may not be the choices they'd make.
One way to help soften the blow of making a different choice is to show respect for the decisions your parents made to get you where you are today. Thank them for making you practice the piano and learn the value of hard work. Thank them for signing you up for soccer so you learned to work in a team environment. Give kudos for them encouraging you to get an after-school job so you had something to put on a resume. By showing respect for your parents' decisions, they'll be more likely to respect yours when the time comes.
Make a Plan
"Mom, I just really want to concentrate on my art right now!" sends a message. And that message is "I have no idea what I'm doing and I really haven't thought this through." If you want your parents to get on board with your post-high school plans you should probably, you know, actually have a plan. If you want to focus on your art, talk to your parents about job shadowing an artist, or working at a museum or gallery, or taking an online course. Give them an idea of how you're spending your time and making money so they know you're not just going to be camping out on their couch with a coloring book until you're 30,
Ask for Input
Your parents have tons of experience that you can benefit from, so make sure to work together and ask for their input along the way. If you have a specific goal or career path in mind, share your ideas with them, and ask if they have input. Maybe your dad knows someone in the industry that you could talk to, or your mom has a genius plan for a business that you haven't thought of before. By making your future a team effort, you can go from "No way!" to "OK, let's do this."
Parents might not understand when you come to them with the idea of skipping out on college and heading straight to work. But you can make them understand by taking the time to communicate. Their fears are a knee-jerk reaction, and you can definitely make them feel better about your goals and aspirations by talking about it, asking for help, and giving them high fives for being awesome parents.