DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been talking to my parents recently about going abroad for a semester. My school offers a program where you can take classes toward your degree in a different country, and I think it would be a great experience for me. My dad is on board with this idea because he went abroad and said it was one of the greatest experiences of his life. My mother, on the other hand, is apprehensive about the idea of me going to a foreign country for four months. I want her blessing before I go, but she is very stubborn when it comes to this. How do you think I should handle this situation with my mother? I want to convince her that I will be OK going abroad and that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. -- Persuasive Daughter, Boston
DEAR PERSUASIVE DAUGHTER: Do you have an ally at school who knows more about the program? Perhaps a guidance counselor or the professor who is organizing this program can talk to your parents about the experience, how long it has been in existence, what kinds of precautions are in place to protect the students, what guidelines they must follow, etc. This may not allay all her fears, but information is power and can help your mother to feel more at ease if she knows that the school isn’t just dropping you off in a foreign country and leaving you to your own devices.
You should also think about your own behavior. What can you tell your mother about how you comport yourself that may help her to believe that you will be responsible and cautious while abroad?