Over Parent Dish, Ericka Lutz writes about her daughter dropping out of high school -- and how she supports her teen's decision to do so:
Parenting a teenager is all about trust. I can't force Annie to go to school, though I tried. I can't force her to want to be in school, and unless she wants to be there, she won't go. I trust my daughter's instincts, and I know that a path is not always linear. And she comes from a strong family tradition of alternate paths. It took me nine years to get my BA and I ended up with a successful and creative career. Her father didn't start community college until he was 24. By the time he died, he was the special adviser to a head of state.
I see her point, but I'm not sure I agree. There's more to high school than just academics, in my opinion: There's self discipline, perserverence, collaboration, cooperation, and basically learning how to learn. Not every child is able to gain those skills on his or her own.
In Lutz's case, her daughter may already have advantages that other teens don't -- including a parent who is willing to let her find her own way (rather than pave the path for her). That might not seem like an advantage, per se, but in the grand scheme of things, it is. "She has a job, and she's pursuing her dream of becoming a professional actor," Lutz writes. "She has to learn what she wants and needs in life, and she has to work for it herself. I will support her in whatever endeavor she chooses -- but the impetus must come from her, not from me."
Parents, what do you think? Would you support your teen's decision to drop out of high school? Why or why not?
Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @WriteEditRepeat.