My Son Doesn’t Know What He Wants to Do With Life, Here’s Why I’m Not Rushing Him

These past few months have been a storm of emotions in our house. My youngest son (youngest!) graduated high school a year early. I didn’t know that this was going to happen until December, and I cried pretty hard the night he told me. I thought we had so much more time to do the high school thing. And this was a reminder that my empty nest, something I’m not sure I’m ready for, is really close. 

But I had to get used to the fact that my time with my son was getting cut short. I also had to keep most of my mixed feelings about it to myself because, of course, I was proud. And it was really obvious that this was what my son wanted to do. There was no way I was going to get in his way. He was so determined and worked really hard. And I needed to not make this about me.

My son wanted to graduate from high school early but began to have doubts. (Shutterstock

My son began to struggle with his decision to graduate early

But as the year started coming to a close, I could tell he was feeling overwhelmed with his decision. He stuck to it, and the plans didn’t change, but I could tell my son was struggling. And it seemed like nothing I offered helped him at all. I told him he didn’t have to graduate early if it felt like it was too much and we’d work it out. I offered advice about how to stay more organized which was a very bad idea. I know better than to shower my kids with advice because I know it’s annoying and they don’t absorb it, anyway. 

Then, one day I said,

You’ll never have another time in your life quite like this. You have no debt, you aren’t committed to anyone or anything but yourself. You have the power to choose the exact life you want and make your dreams come true. So really think about what it is you want in life, and only do things that support that.

I still don’t know if his mood lifted naturally, or if what I said made him look at his life differently, but let’s go with the latter. Because when I was his age, I thought I had to go to college, accrue a ton of debt, then find a job to pay off that debt. That’s exactly what I did, and for a long time I was miserable living that life. Aside from the amazing four year college experience, of course. 

I want my son to know he is in control of his own life

I want my son, and all my kids to know, they are in control of their lives. They are the ones who get to pave their own path and set themself up for success. They don’t have to do what everyone else is or what their best friend is doing. And they certainly don’t have everything figured out right away.

They are still kids, and their dreaming shouldn’t stop because they think they have to follow a certain path. And I never want them to think that they are nailed down to do anything after they are done with their high school career. If anything, this is the time to slow down and really think long and hard about what’s important to them.

I want my kids to take their time deciding what they want to do

I’d much rather have my kids living at home longer, taking their time to decide on a school, career, and their next steps than tell them they have to hurry up and decide because time is running out. We all know that it really isn’t. I mean, how many of us would love to have the chance for a do-over and pick a different path? And I wonder how many of us would have done something different had we not felt so much pressure, or were told that we were adults now and needed to make some major life-changing decisions?

After I had that talk with my son, his entire attitude changed and he was in a much better place. The truth is, I might have to have this talk with him a few more times. He might need to be reminded that everything will fall into place if he goes with his gut and his heart instead of listening to all the outside noise offering what he should and shouldn’t do.

The only thing I want is for my kids to be happy. That’s going to come from them taking their time, realizing they are responsible for their happiness and peace. And that they get to make the calls when they are ready. 

More Great Reading:

My Son Didn’t Go to College and He’s a Huge Success

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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