DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter decided to take a one-year break before attending college. I wasn’t happy with this idea at all. Since she’s been home the past few months, I realize she’s afraid to leave home. She’s now thinking about going to a nearby school instead of the university she initially wanted to attend, which was farther away. I believe the school she originally selected is the better option. How do I encourage her to leave home for the better school? -- Leave the Nest, Philadelphia
DEAR LEAVE THE NEST: Take cues from your daughter. If she is so afraid to leave home that she put college off for a year, pushing her to go away to school may not be the wisest decision. Help to wean her off being at home slowly. Let her enroll in the local school as a commuter student. Encourage her to participate in extracurricular activities such as student government or clubs that represent her interests.
Be sure to focus on the positive. Notice what your daughter is good at doing and support her in cultivating those talents and interests. At the end of the first year, assess with her where she stands and what her next steps are. It may take time to get your daughter to flex the muscles to go out on her own, but if you continue to be a cheerleader for her personal development, you should be able to help her gain more confidence over time.