Sunday, January 21, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Want to graduate early? Have a plan and pitch it to parents

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Q: I'm a high school junior and I hate it. I am not bullied, but I don't have a lot of friends and the whole thing is just ridiculous.

I am already taking a few AP courses and finally talked to my guidance counselor today about graduating early. He said I can if I really buckle down, take on some independent study and do one GED requirement class online. School is pretty easy for me, and I don't have any other distractions.

I also need my parents' permission, but I don't think they'll let me. They know how unhappy I am, but keep saying how this is the last carefree time of my life, and I should enjoy it.

I'm not, and I won't. If I graduate early, I can start classes at community college. My plan is to build up enough credits that I can transfer to a four-year school as a junior and save a lot of money. Then I won't have huge debt.

I realize my plans could change, but I still want to finish high school and get on with my life. How can I convince them that these aren't the best years of my life?

Want to Move On

A: You don't "think" they'll let you. I see the same trail of bread crumbs you're seeing, but that's still not the same thing as knowing how your parents will respond.

That's point 1. Point 2, you have a guidance counselor who knows at least the outline of your situation. Any chance you can fill in some details and get more guidance on the parent-management side?

Point 3, what about a gap year? That walks the line between what you want — the heck outta there — and what they want — to make sure you don't exit your youth prematurely. The guidance counselor might be a resource here, and creativity can minimize the costs.

Point 4, one of the most powerful tools of persuasion is to understand and acknowledge your parents' concerns. If you approach it by dismissing each of their points, then you're just playing into a perception that you're too young to know what's best. If you say, "I understand, you're afraid I'll look back someday and wonder why I was in such a rush to stop being a kid. And you might be right about that — I won't pretend I can see the future. The thing is, though, I'm not enjoying being a kid at this time at this school, and I'm hoping you'll help me find a way to finish out these years that suits me — even if it's not what you've had in mind."

If you set up a great "business plan," present it to your parents calmly and humbly, and yet they are unmoved by it, then one option is to request that they let you satisfy the graduation requirements anyway and still remain for your senior year (if it's possible to do that). That way, you'd have the academic flexibility to take at least some college courses as a senior.

I'll cross my fingers for you. I'm a believer in education by association — as in, what you learn from immersion in campus life — but I also get that it's not always guaranteed, practical or suited to every life.

Comments
2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

2018 Children’s Gasparilla Parade: Guide and insider tips

On Saturday, the kids get first crack at the booty from the pirates at the Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza, the annual alcohol-free party on Bayshore Boulevard. To kick off the season of Jose Gaspar, the fictitious marauder whose legend has...
Published: 01/18/18
You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

You can buy the balls from Amalieís Beach Tampa exhibit at auction

More than 100,000 people showed up at Amalie Arena in 2016 to frolic in a huge ball pit. It was a sea of 1.2 million white orbs so vast that grown men could belly flop and remain afloat. Almost two years after the Beach Tampa packed up, some 15,000 l...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: FaceTime offense lands sister on the outs

FaceTime offense lands sister on the outsQ: When does FaceTime become an intrusion?My sister-in-law recently relocated to our area. We invited her to join us for our traditionally quiet New Yearís Eve celebration. About two hours before midnight, she...
Published: 01/18/18

Tell Me About It: Cousinís husband pursues young sisters

Cousinís husband pursues young sisters Q: I just found out that my nieceís husband has made inappropriate comments/propositions to both of my daughters, one still a minor (17). I have to tell my niece, right? I donít want to hurt her.Broken HeartA: Y...
Published: 01/18/18
Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend Jan. 19-21: Gasparilla Children’s Parade, Jake Owen, Riverdance, Florida Orchestra’s Dvorak

Plan your weekend † Gasparilla Children’s Parade: A week before the more raucous pirate invasion, the G-rated version hits the streets. The Children’s Gasparilla Extravaganza and Parade kicks off Gasparilla season with a bicycle safety...
Published: 01/17/18
Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

Top things to do this week: Steve Martin and Martin Short, Gasparilla Childrenís Parade

PICKING AND GRINNING: Steve Martin and Martin ShortThere wasnít a lot of bluegrass being played around Hamilton, Ontario, when Martin Short was a kid. But his decades-long friendship with Steve Martin has made him a fan, which brings An Evening With ...
Published: 01/17/18

Tell Me About It: Mom needs reassurance of their gratitude

Mom needs reassurance of their gratitudeQ: Whenever my mother gives me or my family member a gift, she ends up asking about it several times afterward. Does not matter if it was $5 or expensive.We always thank her for gifts, and these comments feel l...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportions

Sister-in-lawís gall is of epic proportionsQ: Iím a two-time, currently-Stage IV breast cancer survivor. When I was told I needed a double mastectomy, I did the research and decided to "go flat."For dressy occasions, I wear prostheses, but theyíre no...
Published: 01/16/18

Tell Me About It: Pregnancy makes move harder to bear

Pregnancy makes move harder to bearIím 27 weeks pregnant and just moved to a new city for a great job, but I think I made a big mistake. I loved my old life and feel so homesick for it. But my husband and I bought a house, so moving is not a feasible...
Published: 01/15/18

Tell Me About It: Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancy

Mom is floored by daughterís pregnancyQ: Iím literally shaking as I type this. My 15-year-old daughter is pregnant. I canít believe it. We had many good discussions about waiting until she was ready, using birth control when she was, but it all did n...
Published: 01/14/18