DEAR DAVE: We've been supporting our son while he's in college. He just finished his sophomore year, but he told us the other day he has dropped out of school and isn't going back. He's been playing in a band on weekends, and he has this vague idea of becoming a musician. We don't think this is a good idea, but we still want to be supportive … just not too supportive. We want him to be financially independent, as well. How should we handle this?
DEAR KAREN: This kid is about to have some problems. Not only has he made a bad decision, but he should have consulted with you guys before he quit school. He owed you that much if you were supporting him this whole time.
In my opinion, you and your husband have one job right now. That job is to stand back and let life happen to this kid. If he thinks he's a man, let him go out and prove it. Wish him the best and tell him you hope he becomes the rich and famous rock star he wants to be. But make sure he understands you're not going to support him financially when he's doing something you both feel is a bad idea. The First National Bank of Mom and Dad is officially closed!
Understand that I'm not suggesting you turn your backs on this guy. Let him know how much you both love him and that you'll be praying for him. Invite him over for dinner once in a while, stay in touch, and make sure he knows that family deals like Thanksgiving and Christmas are still business as usual. However, as far as paying for his rent, utilities, gas, food and cellphone bill? That stuff's not happening. This may sound tough, but it was his decision.
In the end, let him know you'll be there to help just like before if he wises up and decides to finish school. But until then? Little boy, you signed up for this trip!