I was a very lucky child in that my mom always supported my dreams, constantly allowing me to freely explore my passions. Unfortunately, there are many kids that I have met throughout my life whose parents didn't support them in chasing after their dreams.
If you, as a parent, have saved money for your child to be able to attend college, that's awesome, but don't make that college fund come with terms that include telling your child that they can only study a major that you approve of.
I once met someone who was just as passionate about writing as me. I loved being able to have a conversation with her about the poetry that she wrote, especially when her eyes would light up with this beautiful passion. "If you don't mind me asking, why is it that you don't study creative writing?"
'Because my parents wouldn't pay for college if I didn't study something more stable.'
She was studying political science, and when I had asked her how she liked studying that, the light in her eyes disappeared. Don't get me wrong, she was still a very passionate and driven person, so she could still thrive in any degree she chose to study, but her parents let the light in her eyes die.
She's not the only one, though. One of my sister's friends was recently told she couldn't study creative writing even though she was really good at it and had been following her dreams of writing since middle school. Her parents wanted her to study something that they thought would get her a job straight out of college.
If you are helping your child pay for college, don't threaten to take that opportunity away from them if they decide to study a passion that you don't necessarily approve of. Instead, support them with endless love and encouragement because college is hard enough no matter what you're studying, but even harder if your parents make you study something you don't have commitment to or passion about.
Be proud that your child has made the decision to further their education, to find a career path for themselves, no matter what that career path is. If you make your child give up their dreams for a career that you think is worthy of your money, one day your child will hold resentment towards you. Sure, maybe your child will have a career in 'something more stable,' but they will have given up their passions, hopes, and dreams for someone who should have been their biggest encouragement from the beginning.
Your child is smart, and you have to trust that you gave them every ounce of wisdom you could as you watched them grow. Maybe they'll figure out on their own that they'd rather study something else because their discover a new passion while they're in college. Maybe they'll continue to follow their dreams, and come out more successful than anyone every imagined they could.
Don't be the reason that the light fades in your child's eyes.
Sure, maybe it is hard for you to see paying for a college degree that you don't know what the job outlook looks like. Then do some research! Liberal Arts degrees have a better job outlook what seems like every day.
Or maybe every person in your family for the last three generations has studied law and suddenly your child decides they want to break the mold and study medicine. Just because their passion isn't your passion doesn't mean it doesn't deserve your encouragement.
Maybe you're afraid that your child will fail somewhere along achieving their goals, but that's not a good enough reason to stop trying. We all fall down sometimes, but if we stayed down, we would have never learned to walk. Failing is its own form of empowerment.
Sure, parents make mistakes from time to time, but giving unconditional love and support is the best thing you can do for your child. Support the wildest of your child's dreams and ambitions, and before you know it, they could be changing the world.