My Ex is setting a bad example!
I am a dad with disabilities. My kids’ mom is a “cool mom”; the life of the party. I want my daughter to go to college, but she is getting conflicting advice from her mom. Because I have a disability, she thinks I am stupid. What should I do?
I applaud your desire to have your daughter attend college. Knowledge is power, and an education provides many more options and a much higher earning potential.
There is no question that teenagers are challenging people. They tend to look for the path of least resistance, and they tend to feel their parents are stupid, no matter what. From a teen’s perspective the thought of attending college seems like a huge undertaking that will take forever. (Teen eye rolling implied!) An authoritative adult who presents an easier, and far less difficult, path is going to be very appealing. When that adult is a parent, you have quite the challenge on your hands.
To the best of your ability try to discuss with your daughter her desires, hopes, and dreams for her future. What kind of training is needed to achieve these dreams? What options does she feel are available to her if she does not choose college? These conversations are most productive in a non-threatening setting; perhaps while cooking dinner together, or when driving in the car. Discussing these topics as small casual conversations will be more productive than having extensive, focused conversations that leave your daughter feeling like you are preaching or lecturing.
Finding other adults to talk to your daughter, particularly women, whom your daughter admires can also be helpful. However, she cannot know that you are behind these conversations!
In the end, your daughter may have to struggle a bit to decide that she needs additional training to have the life she desires, and this ok. The most important thing is to let her know you love her no matter what.