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How Do I Stop My Daughter Following Her Boyfriend to College

From one of our readers: “How do I stop my daughter from following her boyfriend to college?”

My daughter got accepted to University of Florida. We live in St. Augustine, so she would still be able to get that real college experience without going too far. Unfortunately, she thinks that she is in love and now she wants to follow her boyfriend to New York University. That is just too far from home! God forbid things don’t work out (they probably won’t). I don’t want her to be stranded and regret her decision. What can I do to convince her to stay?

Response:

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what is going to convince her to stay. I am sure that it is terrifying to know that not only will your daughter be going off to college this year, but she plans to do so far away from home to be with her boyfriend. Honestly, you only have one of three options:

1- Just accept her decision and she moves to New York

You can just accept that your daughter has made a decision and she is going to New York. But ask yourself, are you upset that she is following a boy to school or that she is moving so far away? If you are worried about losing her then you need to evaluate those feelings and determine why you feel that way. She is an adult now and can make her own decisions. Just be confident in how you raised her.

2- Refuse to accept her decision and she moves to New York anyway

You can refuse to accept the decision that she made, but she is going to move to New York anyway. However, there will be a major rift in your relationship. This is definitely the most undesirable option. The last thing you want is for things to go sideways in New York and she doesn’t feel comfortable confiding in you. After all, no one wants to hear “I told you so”. If she feels that you supported her decision, she’ll be more likely to keep you in the loop.

3- Be supportive and hope she changes her mind

Before totally shooting down this idea, make sure that your daughter has explored all the possibilities. You can definitely voice your opinion, but if she decides to go to New York, be supportive. Have a serious and open conversation with her. Remind her that you were a teenager once and let her know her about some decisions that you made in the past. Don’t just focus on the mistakes you made, but also let her know about the chances you took that really paid off. That way, she can determine for herself what she wants to do instead of feeling pressure from you or her boyfriend. You want her to be able to make her own decisions.

Ask Her the Hard Questions

Here are some questions you should ask her, so that she can start thinking realistically about the situation (she doesn’t need to have the answer right away):

  • You already got into UF, did you get into NYU too?
  • What is the plan if you move to New York?
  • Why did he decide to go to New York?
  • New York is very far from Florida, who will be your support system there?
  • Have you considered asking him to stay in Florida?
  • If you are moving specifically to be closer to him, what happens if the relationship doesn’t work out?
  • If things don’t work out, will you regret going to New York?

 

The More You Push, The More She’ll Resist

Remember the more parents try to push their children to do something, the more they resist. Just relax. You were a teenager once and I am sure you made decisions that your parents didn’t like. Sadly, it is her life and not yours. You have to allow her to make mistakes. Just be there to support her if she falls.

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