Excitement and anxiety isn’t just for the gappers. It’s a whole new world for parents too
WHAT TO DO IF YOU WANT TO TAKE A GAP YEAR AND YOUR PARENTS ARE NOT KEEN
It’s frustrating when your parents don’t agree with your plans, but it’s important to remember that they’re just trying to do what’s best for you.
There are a few things you can do to try to help convince your parents to let you take a gap year. First, try to understand their concerns. Why are they hesitant to let you take a year off? Are they worried about the cost? Are they afraid that you’ll lose momentum and never go to college or University? Or is your safety their main concern? Once you know their concerns, you can start to address them by explaining how you will help prevent their concerns from becoming a reality.
For example, if your parents are worried about the cost, you can show them how you’ve been saving up money or how you plan to fund your gap year. If they’re afraid that you’ll lose momentum, you can talk to them about your plans for the year and how you’ll stay focused on your goals and perhaps how you believe your gap year will help with your future plans. If safety is their concern, you can commit to attending a gap year safety training course before you go or even send them the link to TravelAid offering extra gap year safety support and reassurance.
On top of addressing their specific concerns, it’s also important to be prepared to compromise. Maybe your parents won’t let you take a full year off, but they might be willing to let you take a few months. Or, maybe they’ll agree to let you take a gap year if you commit to doing certain things, like volunteering or getting a job. Or perhaps there may be some countries that they are more concerned about than others that you could agree to avoid. Like all things, communication is key, so take time to hear their concerns and work together on a solution.
Be respectful and understanding of your parents’ concerns, letting you go off travelling alone is a huge leap for them and they are likely to just be concerned. If you can show them that you’ve thought things through and that you’re serious about your plans, they’ll be more likely to come around.
Learn about the benefits of taking a gap year, and be able to articulate them to your parents. Talk about how it can help you to:
Show your parents how a gap year will help you grow as a person and prepare for further education or your career.
Show your parents that you have a clear plan for what you want to do during your gap year. This will help to allay their fears that you will just be wasting time. Consider the following:
Having considered all of these points will show your parents that you’re responsible and that you have a plan for your year off.
If your parents are worried about your safety, remember that it’s a natural parental instinct to want to protect their children. Here are some things you can do to address their safety concerns:
If you can address your parents’ safety concerns, they may be more likely to support your gap year plans. It’s also important to remember that there are risks associated with everything we do in life. Even if you stay at home, there is always the risk of something happening. The important thing is to be prepared and to take precautions to stay safe.
Even though you disagree with your parents, try not to dismiss their concerns. If you are open to talking things through respectfully, you may be able to address them in a calm and rational way and are more likely to reach an agreement.
It may take some time for your parents to come around to the idea of a gap year. Be patient, and keep talking to them about it.
If you follow these tips, you may be able to convince your parents to support your gap year plans. However, if they still refuse, you may need to accept their decision. But even if you don’t get to take a gap year, you can still gain valuable life experience in other ways. You could volunteer, get a part-time job, or travel for a shorter period of time. And of course you can always plan a gap year later in life – it is never too late!
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