DEAR ABBY: My 17-year-old son, "Seth," is set to go off to college. He is going to a state university about 20 minutes from our home.
When filling out the paperwork for school, I did not sign him up to live on campus. His behavior during his senior year was less than stellar. I felt he needed to prove himself a little before I spent the money for him to live on campus. He's furious with me, and I admit I am second-guessing my decision as I talk to other parents whose kids are all living on campus.
I want my son to be independent. I told him if he did well the first semester he could live there the second semester. Did I do the right thing? -- PERPLEXED MOM IN NEW YORK
DEAR MOM: I know you want your son to be independent, but for him to become independent means he needs to accept responsibility for himself -- and that includes filling out his own paperwork for school. Dormitory living would have provided an atmosphere with some supervision and structure, but dorm rooms are usually assigned at the beginning of the school year -- not the middle.
I know you meant well, but I would have done things differently and told my son that if he did poorly in his first semester, he would be living at home during the second one.