I get asked this question a lot. This is a pretty serious topic for most people. Parents play such a huge role in our lives, so when they disapprove of our decisions, it’s hard to ignore.

This happens so often because of the nature of the shift our generation is going through.

Our parents grew up seeking a degree because they knew it would provide the safety and stability that their parents didn’t have, and thus valued so much.

Instead of safety and security, young people now value freedom. This is a result of the outdated school system paired with the global interconnectedness that technology has brought.

As freedom becomes more valued, it also becomes more within our grasp.

Digital entrepreneurship has replaced a college degree as the most efficient way to start a career. It is now more of a risk to go to college than it is to start an online business. Taylor Pearson dives into this topic in his book, The End of Jobs. I highly recommend reading that.

The sad truth is that many parents simply don’t understand this, or don’t accept it. They spent a large portion of their careers saving up money so you could go to college and have the safety and security.

I don’t hold anything against them – it must be hard to have your kids tell you that the decisions you based your entire career and lifestyle on for 40+ years don’t make sense for you. To hear, “Thanks for saving 18 years for my college, but I really don’t think college is worth it.”


Understand that your parents want what’s best for you. They want you to be safe, because it’s their job to protect you. They naturally want you to make safer decisions to minimize risk. And for their entire lives, college has been the safest, default option.

It’s not about convincing your parents they’re wrong. It’s about helping them to understand why you’re making the decision you’re making.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want to avoid an argument at all costs. You want them to know you value their opinion and their insight. This is the first step in getting them to understand, or at least accept your decision.

The best way to get into a yelling match is to openly reject their opinion. Your parents usually have an explainable reason for why they disapprove. If you respect that, the chances are higher that they will respect yours too.

Welcome their opinions with genuine curiosity. Show them that you value their feedback. Thank them for weighing in with their opinions, but when you disagree with what they say, be polite and honest, telling them that you respectfully disagree. Explain your reasoning.

While you want to understand and be grateful for their input, that doesn’t mean you have to agree with them.

Realize that you don’t need your parents’ approval to live your life. They are your parents. They created you. But they are not you. You’re the one who gets to make your own decisions with your own life, just like they do with theirs.

Have confidence in your decision. Don’t let their opinions make you second-guess yourself.

If you hear them out, thank them for their input, and rationally explain yourself with unwavering confidence in a way that makes sense, they will notice. They will see that you’re driven. They will see that you have thought through the options and come to a rational decision. It might take a while because of the shocking difference in culture and values, but they will come around eventually.

Every situation is different. I’d like to offer up my time to help you if you’re struggling with breaking the news to your parents. Email me at scfraser4@gmail.com for some 1-on-1 help with this.