HomeArticles“Gapping Out” Without Goals”

Dear Estelle,
This question is written on behalf of my brother who lives in Florida with his two college-aged daughters. College-aged but not in college. Several years ago my brother went through a miserable divorce and his daughters, who are estranged from their mother, seem unable to proceed with the next phase of their lives. They’re employed periodically and take an occasional class at the community college. My brother feels they should be committed to something, either college or employment. Do you have any thoughts on how to motivate my nieces?- Sue W, Denver

Dear Sue,
This could be a classic case of anger, which is preventing your nieces from taking responsibility as adults for their future college and career plans. A few sessions with a therapist or psychologist might enable them to talk about their inability to move on with their lives. Once they understand their personal issues, career counseling will give them direction with possible majors and careers.

Periodically, I mention a gap year in my columns, whereby a student takes time between high school and college to travel, volunteer or work. Upon completion of the year the student pursues his college and career goals. Your nieces appear to be “gapping out” without direction. They need assistance. If they balk at counseling, your brother should insist they support themselves or pay rent if living at home unless they pursue some worthwhile endeavors. It’s not simple but there are solutions.

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