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Q: My 15-year-old son is currently enrolled in a very prestigious high school. He did very well his first term, but has since voiced his disappointment. He put in for an application to another school and now he can't decide where he wants to go. His high school he is considered the best in the country and he knows that I'll be disappointed if he switches. But I want him to be happy wherever he goes. What should I do?
A: Give your son a deadline by which he must make up his mind. Let him know that his indecision is telling you that he needs you to help with the decision of which school to attend. If he cannot choose by the deadline, you will choose for him. (Keep in mind that your son's indecision may be his way of telling you he wants your help with this.) He is still a minor, so you do have the right to make the choice. The school counselor may be able to talk with your son and help him think through his options.
You do want him to be happy, so try to find out the activities in which he might be interested in getting involved at each school. You might look at a list of clubs or look in the yearbook, or you might talk with the school counselor or some of the teachers. Becoming involved in extracurricular activities and with friends may help your son feel happier about attending the school.
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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.