DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is in college and needs to declare a major. She is torn between several interests. When I reminded her of the things that she has shown interest in over the years, she got testy with me and didn’t want to listen.
It seems like she wants my input, but she instantly rejects it when I make a suggestion. I get that she is frustrated because she is uncertain, but I can’t help her if all she does is get an attitude and tell me what I recommend is out of the question. How can I help her? -- Child on the Fence, Boston
DEAR CHILD ON THE FENCE: Declaring a major is a huge step toward independence. It can set a person on a course for the rest of their life. To that end, it is best when it is discovered by the person who is doing the declaration. It is understandable that your daughter wants your support, to a certain extent. She does trust you and knows that you have good ideas. At the same time, she knows that she should make this decision based on what her studies and spirit are leading her to do.
The best thing you can do is to exercise patience and be a good listener. Do not take her sharpness personally. Understand that this is part of the process of becoming independent, and it is difficult. It’s also worth noting that people often change their majors if they discover that it isn’t a perfect fit. You can let her know that the choice does not have to be written in stone.