Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: I'm a high school junior and I hate it. I am not bullied, but I don't have a lot of friends and the whole thing is just ridiculous.
I am already taking a few AP courses and finally talked to my guidance counselor today about graduating early. He said I can if I really buckle down, take on some independent study and do one GED requirement class online. School is pretty easy for me, and I don't have any other distractions.
I also need my parents' permission, but I don't think they'll let me. They know how unhappy I am, but keep saying how this is the last carefree time of my life, and I should enjoy it.
I'm not, and I won't. If I graduate early, I can start classes at community college. My plan is to build up enough credits that I can transfer to a four-year school as a junior and save a lot of money. Then I won't have huge debt.
I realize my plans could change, but I still want to finish high school and get on with my life. How can I convince them that these aren't the best years of my life?
WANT TO MOVE ON
You don't "think" they'll let you. I see the same trail of breadcrumbs you're seeing, but that's still not the same thing as knowing how your parents will respond.
That's point 1. Point 2, you have a guidance counselor who knows at least the outline of your situation. Any chance you can fill in some details and get more guidance on the parent-management side?
Point 3, one of the most powerful tools of persuasion, is to understand and acknowledge your parents' concerns. If you approach it by dismissing each of their points, then you're just playing into a perception that you're too young to know what's best. If you say, "I understand, you're afraid I'll look back someday and wonder why I was in such a rush to stop being a kid. And you might be right about that - I won't pretend I can see the future. The thing is, though, I'm not enjoying being a kid at this time at this school, and I'm hoping you'll help me find a way to finish out these years that suits me - even if it's not what you've had in mind."
Email firstname.lastname@example.org. Chat online at 10 a.m. Fridays at www.washingtonpost.com.