Something that Donald and I try really hard to make sure we're not doing is guilt-tripping or manipulating our kiddos. I think it's safe to say that as parents we don't do either of these things very often (& this is something we're both very proud of.)
Others in our family don't consider how some of their actions could be considered manipulative. Over Easter weekend I inadvertently walked in on Donald's mother telling our 9 year old daughter how she should go to a certain college and she could live with Grandma while she went to said college. This was all said while Bess was sitting in Grandma's lap and Grandma was petting Bess' hair.
Rather than pointing out to my MIL that trying to coerce her granddaughter into agreeing to go to a college close to her was inappropriate, I kept my silence and thought about it. And after some time I found a way to turn this into a learning experience.
Talking about college had been quite a ways off in my mind...you know since the child is only 9 and all. But since the topic had already been broached, I casually mentioned to Bess that if she applied to a few different colleges when she got older she'd have a better chance to get a scholarship. Which can be explained to a 9 year old as free money to go toward that school. Bess immediately brought up that Grandma wants her to go to the school close to where Grandma lives so Bess can live with her. (Funny how that worked....) In response to this I was able to point out that at that time it would be up to Bess to decide where she wanted to go to school. And that if she didn't want to go to that particular school she didn't have to because it was her education. I also explained that Bess could apply to as many or as few schools as she wanted to, and that we could talk about it more as she got older. This seemed to give her more options and make her feel less that she needed to go to a particular school. And she learned just a bit about scholarships. So when Donald and I talked about it later that night, he was happy with the way I addressed the situation with Bess and I was happy that my 9 year old daughter no longer felt urged to go to a particular college.
All around I consider it a pretty good ending to something that didn't start out well ;-)