Picking a college course is one of the biggest and most challenging decisions your child will ever make. In making this decision, it cannot be denied that parents, most of the time, want to have a say on what is the “right,” “best,” or “most practical” course.
With good intentions and high hopes, parents tend to take the wheel in deciding what college course their child should take.
These choices usually lean towards more traditional courses that promise a financially stable and secure job. For some parents, it also becomes a way of transferring their unfulfilled dreams onto their children as a second chance at a brighter future.
And, children, especially those who are unsure of who they want to be, follow their parents’ advice to meet their expectations.
However, not all children who pursue the course of their parents’ choice surpass college smoothly.
Below are common struggles experienced by students who pursue a course that their parents chose for them:
Failing grades or low academic performance
A study conducted in Rizal Technology University states that motivation is one of the most important factors in a student’s success or failure in learning.
Internal motivation, as described in the study, is one’s desire to learn a topic. Since children are forced to study a course they’re not interested in, they lack the motivation and will to learn about it. Thus, the student usually struggles in understanding and performing well in a subject. This results in low academic performance or even failing grades.
Students resort to shifting to a different course when they get tired or lose interest in their current course. This is a common occurrence not only in the Philippines, but in other countries like the United States as well. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 30% of undergraduates in associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs had changed their major at least once within 3 years of initial enrollment. Meanwhile, about 1 in 10 students changed their majors more than once.
Your child is likely to do the same thing when they realize they can no longer endure the course that you asked them to take up. Shifting to another course would mean a prolonged time before your child graduates, and additional cost on tuition fees and other expenses.
But if you are already in this situation, take it as an opportunity for your child to find their right fit and excel academically.
Risk of Depression
A study in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that parents’ excessive involvement in their children’s lives, despite good intentions, tend to yield unfavorable results. Lead author Holly Schiffrin says, “Parents are sending an unintentional message to their children that they are not competent.” Moreover, it decreases the child’s sense of self-determination, which could result to feelings of depression and dissatisfaction.
Similarly, a Philippine study entitled “Factors Associated with Depressive Symptoms among
Filipino University Students” shows that excessive parental control can lead to depression symptoms among Filipino students.
These hardships are probably not the good life you wish for your child. And if your child is already in any of these situations, you may want to reconsider your decisions in order to help them find the career path they will excel in the most.
Ultimately, allowing them to pursue their passion would most likely give them the best chances of achieving the successful life all parents want for their children anyway.
A college course aligned with your child’s passion may be the right, best, and most practical choice after all.
Visit the Parent Portal for regular advice and information on helping your child navigate their way through senior high school, college and their careers.