Ask Brian: My daughter’s CAO choices revolve around her boyfriend. What should I do?

Final course choices are six months away – an eternity in the life of an 18-year-old

When your daughter realises that chatting 24-7 could lead to her failing to secure the grades she needs to be close to her boyfriend next year, it may have a dramatic impact on her outlook. Photograph: iStock

When your daughter realises that chatting 24-7 could lead to her failing to secure the grades she needs to be close to her boyfriend next year, it may have a dramatic impact on her outlook. Photograph: iStock

 

Question: My daughter acquired more than language skills in the Gaeltacht last summer; she also picked up a boyfriend. They communicate online constantly. Her CAO colleges choices seem shaped entirely to ensure that they are both in Galway this autumn – even though aeronautical engineering in UL was her first preference choice up to recently. Her boyfriend is a lovely young man, but I don’t want her relationship to shape her career. What should I do?

Answer: I’m more used to answering queries regarding careers but given that it’s Valentine’s Day, I am more than happy to try my hand at being an agony uncle for the day!

I am glad to hear that your daughter has found love with a young man who seems as if he has her best interests at heart.

I would advise you to approach this issue sensitively, involving both of them in a dialogue about the forthcoming Leaving Cert and college choices.

If you attempt to block their constant online communication, or CAO course choice planning, you may lose any potential influence you may have in shaping their behaviour.

In a non-confrontational manner, talk to both of them regarding the importance of securing their Leaving Cert grades to enable them to receive an offer in their preferred CAO course choices on August 21st next.

It may not have occurred to them in the first flush of love that their constant communications could undermine their chances of securing the relevant CAO points to receive that offer of their preferred course.

When your daughter realises that chatting 24-7 could lead to her failing to secure the grades she needs to be close to her boyfriend next year, it may have a dramatic impact on her outlook.

It would be worth encouraging both of them to agree to both leave their phones aside for defined agreed times in both their study schedules.

With regard to her CAO course choices, I would leave that matter totally to one side for the moment.

Both her and her boyfriend’s CAO choices are totally amendable up until 5.15pm on July 1st.

So whatever she and her boyfriend have listed now are irrelevant if either or both of them change their minds once they get the Leaving Cert exams behind them in June.

Over the coming months I would suggest that you encourage your daughter to continue to actively explore all the academic, extracurricular, cultural, career progression options of all her course options.

Those final course choices are six months away, which in the life of an 18-year-old is an eternity.

Your daughter’s relationship may deepen during that time, thus strengthening her desire to be near her beloved, or they may grow apart, which will change the whole dynamic of her thought processes.

Whatever happens she will always remember finding love in the Gaeltacht, and appreciate you for sending her there.