It happens in lots of families with college-bound kids — the cultivated dream of college that you thought you instilled in your children is suddenly dashed by his or her decision not to go yet. Here are a few tips to deal with your anxiety and the stress it's now creating between you and your nearly-adult child.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

When this happens, there's usually a reason. Perhaps it's fear of the unknown. Perhaps it is the cumulative stress of constantly applying for colleges and jumping through extra-curricular hoops. Perhaps it is anxiety about finances or the boyfriend/girlfriend they will leave behind. All this can be talked about and discussed.

A student who doesn't want to be in college is usually not going to get very good grades or be a very good student. Why mess up the transcript? The first indication that your child is an adult is a willingness to admit she is not quite ready.

Do let her know the overarching financial implications of not going at all in their distant future. Does she want to be waiting tables when she is 55+?

Level with her about your own experience. I took two semesters off between my freshman and sophomore year. I worked as a bank teller and hated it. What story of yours can you share with your kids? Your kid more than likely feels like she is the only one going through this alienated time of feeling not quite ready. Let her know she is not alone.

Create a Timeline, Expectations, Options

Is it 'I don't want to go to college?' or is it "I don't want to go to college right now?" Usually it's the latter. Fine. She needs a break. If the child will continue to live at home, set up expectations and guidelines. Will living with you require that she works? Be working on specific projects? It's super easy for kids — all of us, really — to slip into arrested development malaise. If you and your child check in once a month on your timeline, you'll not slip into that black hole of sloth.

Some families opt for sending the kid off on the traditional backpack across America or Europe trip with a rail pass and a bit of cash. Friends of mine do this with their kids and they seem always ready to come home and hunker down after getting out and seeing the world for a while.

Or go for the 'always wanted to' option. Is there something your child has always wanted to do but it didn't fit in with her academic schedule? An internship perhaps? Or mentorship in a trade? Have her seize the opportunity of time to learn a skill or trade that she is interested in — whether it's a money-maker or not. Maybe she can learn how to sew or how to fix toilets, or she can take that painting class at the community center she wanted to take. It's all about something that still gets her outside herself, involved with her surroundings, and learning something new. She can still have a taste of all the things she was going to do in college — which might lead her to want to go to college next semester. Support her and help pay expenses to do these things.

Take Care of You: Keep Your Emotions and Judgment in Check

Your child is not you. Respect her decision to not go this year. When the year or the semester is up — whatever you set up in your timeline — you can revisit the conversation, but not until then. Keep the peace and watch your kid grow.