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Would you ever try to discourage your child from achieving his/her dreams?

Asked by Feta (773 points ) March 12th, 2014

My parents are constantly trying to discourage me and I want to understand their logic because when I’ve asked them why they just say, “We just want you to be realistic.”

My “dream” isn’t completely outlandish. I just want to go to school at NYU and be a successful journalist preferably working for Rolling Stone. The reason is because I’ve been writing my entire life and making stories since before I even knew the alphabet.
I’ve always excelled in Literary Art and in elementary school, every year my essays were featured in contests in which I almost always won first place. I just love writing…and people love my writing!
And I also love music. You can’t shut me up about rock music so I figure…what better than to have a job where I get to write about music?

But my parents keep jabbing at my aspirations saying that they’re illogical and that NYU is too much money and why don’t I go to a local college because with my ACT scores, I could go for free. My stepmom went on a tirade about how journalists only make a median income of around $40,000 and that’s how much tuition is at NYU and how I won’t ever be able to pay off my student loans and how I probably won’t even be able to get a student loan because there are limits on them and when she went back to college a few years ago the limit for a student loan was like $7,000.

This is my logic: I’ll get as many scholarships and financial aid as I possibly can to knock as much money off the $160,000 student loan debt as possible. Then, if I get a job soon after college (which in NYC, I could possibly intern for a successful magazine and maybe they’d hire me after I graduated?) I would probably make around $50–60,000 and I can get a roommate to help with rent while paying $1,500 towards the loans and $100 into a savings account every month. Given the loans (before any financial aid or scholarships are deducted), that would have me paying off the debt in about 9 years (probably less).

What’s illogical about that?

My English teacher is always telling me she has high expectations for me because my writing is so good. I mean, I share my dreams with my friends and instructors and they strongly encourage me to go the route of journalism. I’ve even had a peer tell me that I have a “gift” when it comes to writing.

However, my parents discourage it and want me to choose a major that’s “safer”. I can understand concern for my future, but the amount of discouragement coming from them is extremely upsetting…mostly because they’re my parents and they don’t really think I’m good enough to be a successful journalist.

Honestly, I’ve let them read some of my work and they actually sat there and laughed in my face and said it was “weird” while my accredited (and very tough) English teacher called it “beautifully written” and compared some of my diction to E.B. White.

I know I’ve rambled on about my own situation, but would you ever try to inhibit your child from doing what they love or be where they felt they belonged?
If so, do you agree with my parents and their discouragement? Or, if not, what could be my parents possible motives and who should I believe- my parents who don’t think I’m good enough or my teachers and peers who think I’d make an excellent journalist?

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