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Couple disagrees on how to assist son with future plans

Published 11:19am Saturday, June 1, 2013

By Abbie Long

Question: My husband and I cannot agree on what to do with regard to our son’s application for college. The deadline is approaching and he hasn’t completed it even though we keep reminding him to get it done and stressing the importance of doing so.

My husband wants to fill it out for him so he doesn’t miss the deadline, but I think it should be up to my son. This disagreement has caused a lot of arguing and I am about ready to tell my husband to go ahead. What do you think I should do?

Conflicted parent

Answer: It is a picture perfect day at the beach. The wind is blowing at a gentle, cooling velocity and the waves are rolling gracefully without indication of a looming offshore storm. The sun highlights a distant area of colorful shoreline. Close-up inspection reveals a kite, one with immense beauty yet left for abandon. An elderly passerby approaches the kite with hope to observe its soaring splendor but suddenly the wind conditions make his desire impossible. If only he were younger. He would have run down the beach with the string and produced his own results. He leaves the kite once again alone and with only a hope that someone will come to its rescue.

The kite represents a person’s future. It is a gift given to every person at birth. Each kite is different yet beautiful in its own way. It is a parent’s job to hold the string of his child’s kite to the best of his ability while he grows up so his future will not be swept away by one of life’s strong storms. During this time the parent is his child’s guardian, protector, mentor, and he instills within him the ways of the world according to his parental set of values and ethics. When the child becomes an adult it is then the responsibility of the parent to hand over the string of his child’s kite to him. If the parent refuses, he will often force the child in a direction the child has no desire to go and one with compromised, not secure, potential. Most kids allow themselves to be pulled in the direction of their parents choosing because they don’t want to let their parents and down and they long for their support and approval. Once they are out on their own, however, these kids are often the ones who live their adulthood angry, unhappy in their jobs, and resentful toward their parents.

As your son is contemplating college it becomes appropriate to hand over to him the kite string that leads to his future. If you see him grasp the string and carry it with him into a new and exciting direction, even if it isn’t one you would have chosen, encourage him and make sure he knows you believe his future will be one of success.

If you see him take the string from you and put it down immediately, for instance not fill out his application, you must realize he is only doing so because he has yet to identify his passion.

To be in a suitable position to help your son find his passion you must continue to keep your encouragement toward him flowing and your confidence in him unwavering by believing and declaring in your heart that his decision is only temporary. When you are fully convinced, sit down and talk with him about what excites him and why. Watch for his face to light up, his excitement to rise, and his words to flow without ceasing for at that point you will have tapped into his passion.

It will still be his decision whether or not to act upon this new discovery but at least you will have helped him find the motivation he needs to soar his kite into a sky of limitless potential rather than to abandon it on the beach waiting to be rescued.

When your son was a little boy he would ask your for a balloon and you would tie its string to his wrist because you didn’t trust him to keep it from flying away. Now he is an adult and asking you for his kite.

Rather than tying it to his wrist, or refusing to give it to him, you and your husband must come together and with joint confidence place the string in his hand. Your action will prove your confidence in him without which he will not feel confident in himself.

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to

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