Son refuses to study abroad

I have a 16 year old son who is expecting to complete his high school studies in May this year. My wish is for him to pursue his undergraduate degree abroad but he is resisting despite explaining to him the advantages of studying abroad. I have noted that he is siding with his mother who supports his idea of studying performing arts in one of the local universities. My vision is for him to study law in one of the prestigious universities in the Schengen countries. If the son continues to be adamant, I will leave him with his mother and not pay a penny for his university education. Can this young boy disrespect my decision like that?
AC, Dodoma

The answer is yes; your son is not bound by your decision. He is going to university not you, and you cannot force him to study a subject or in an area he does not want to.

Section 11 of the Law of the Child Act, 2009 gives a child the right of giving his opinion. The law provides that a child shall have a right of opinion and no person shall deprive a child, capable of forming views, the right to express an opinion, to be listened to and to participate in decisions which affect his well-being. Given that your son is 16 years old, he is capable of forming views for a decision of choosing his career and a university he wishes to undertake in his undergraduate studies. Relying on that law, a child disagreeing with a parent’s view in a matter affecting his well-being is not a disrespect to the parent.

We understand that choosing the right career decision is very important and just like every other parent you must be concerned about your child’s future. However, you need to understand and allow your son to make his final career decision. As a parent you would always like to choose the best thing for your child but there are higher chances that the field you are recommending to your child is not a field of interest to him. Being a good parent you should try to understand your child’s point of view instead of demotivating or forcing him to go your way.

You might want to involve his mother and have an open discussion, but remember that the final decision is that of your son and not yours. If he decides to go to a local university, you will be obliged to fund him.