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Help for High-Schoolers and New Moms

Q: My son is a junior and refuses to even talk about college. I don’t want to be one of those parents who does everything for their kid, but I can’t just blow this off. Help!

A: There are a couple of issues here. One is the fact that teens live very much in the moment. They are far more focused on what is going on in their lives this weekend than a year from now. Some teens feel ambivalence about leaving home. They worry that they may not be prepared to handle that much independence. Occasionally we see situations where the teen would greatly benefit from another year of maturation before going off to college. I would begin by planning a trip to visit some schools which you think might interest your son. This may motivate him to get more involved. Another helpful tool is to help him create a calendar or time line to post in his room which would keep him focused and on track. This would include signing up for SAT exams, and due dates for certain applications.

You might also sit down and talk with your son about his goals. Hear what he has to say and keep an open mind. Maybe attending a trade school or community college would be a better fit for him.Taking off a year to work in a field that he thinks might interest him might be a good idea. Some teens greatly benefit from a year of involvement in a service program.He may feel that a four year college is just not for him at this time.

Let him know that he has many options and ask him what he needs from you in terms of support. In the end, he needs to find some internal motivation to do the work necessary to get into college. If he continues to resist, perhaps he is trying to tell you something. Now is the time to begin a dialogue rather than deliver a lecture. Be patient and know that a lot of growth can take place in the next few months.

Q: I’m pregnant with my first child. My sister says the baby should stay with me in the room at the hospital. My mother say’s that’s what the nursery is for.

A: I don’t think there is any topic in the world that attracts more advice, solicited or not, than how one should parent.

The decision to have baby “room in” is very individual. While some moms feel more comfortable having the baby with them at all times, others find they are able to get more rest with baby in the nursery. Some things to consider would be how you are feeling after the delivery.If you deliver by caesarean section, you will probably be on pain medication for the first few days, which makes it a bit more difficult to care for your baby. In that case it might be in everyone’s best interest to have your newborn cared for in the nursery. Will you have help once you get home? If not, it might be wise to get all the rest you can before you are discharged. While many parents enjoy a rooming in arrangement, there is no right or wrong choice. Even if you choose the nursery, the hospital staff will make sure that you have lots of time to bond with your little one. I encourage you to do what feels comfortable for you. I hope that which ever way you go both your sister and mother will respect and support your decision.

Susan Brown holds a master’s degree in developmental psychology, as well as degrees in early childhood education and psychology. A mother, teacher, children’s book author, and nationally known family educator, she works with clients at Everyday Parenting Solutions.
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