Teen parenting expert Rosalind Wiseman on whether parents should encourage their teenage students to take accelerated courses against their will.

By Rosalind Wiseman

Q. My son doesn't want to take honors courses next year because he'd rather be with his friends in the regular classes. Should I let him?

A. I know it seems like your son is sacrificing his education to hang with his friends. But it's not that simple. In our culture boys are constantly being told not to care too much about anything, and taking honors classes definitely fits into this category. So don't talk about how he's ruining his future.

Instead, give him an incentive—think of an honors subject he really cares about and have him write a list of the pros and cons of taking it. Then let him choose. You can force him to take the class, but you can't make him do the work.

Originally published in the May 2009 issue of Family Circle magazine.