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Most humans are garbage.

TBH I find that a touch condescending and borderline rude. I am not guilty of child abuse. This is a serious issue that can't be wished away with a "follow your dreams" cliche.

Here's the reality. If they follow their professional dream to be, say, a teacher, they can say goodbye to any dream of having a family, it just won't be affordable. They can say goodbye to the dream of having any form of housing stability; as at best they will be shoved from one substandard crap-hole to the next every couple of years, at worst they have a massively increased chance of homelessness. They can say goodbye to job security. They can say goodbye to having anything resembling a pension to retire on. They can say goodbye to being able to afford any sort of therapies to help with their autism. Or holidays. Or disposable income to go enjoy some nice things together with any partner they might have.

How can I, in good conscience, watch my kids walk oblivious into that? With the massively increased chance of mental illness or worse? A few people have an absolute passion for a subject, and I guess if that's the case we have to cross that bridge when we come to it, because I can't imagine them entertaining other ideas. But for most, a job is only part of a broader set of hopes and dreams. And the fact is that in Australia unless you're VERY lucky or cut-throat, jobs that require a decent bit of study are not valued. Hell, they'll just import people with those skills instead.

So yeah, all else being equal, I'll be suggesting that they are more likely to be able to achieve their life goals and dreams by not pursuing academic success. Sure, love learning as a hobby, but the government here has made clear that you are NOT as valued if you do so for a career. As a parent I have to set aside my biases (one of which is for learning) and try to help them have a happy, content and safe life. Which would I prefer: a depressed, frustrated PhD who has just been kicked out her 5th rental; or a not super smart but cheerful daughter working as an electrician, planning her future family in their new apartment?
What a parent prefers isn't relevant. You have painted a fantasy using the colors of your own anxiety and anger.

Under no circumstances will having a PhD be a disadvantage. Some people who have that PhD will go on to make exciting careers out of it. Some will not. Some may even have to settle for being an electrician. I worked for years as a security guard and then a burglar alarm installer and a raft of other low-paying and very odd jobs before landing a slot in aerospace. That's how life works.

At least here in Southern California, even getting into a trade requires a degree. My son-in-law had a heck of a time getting past entry-level because everyone wanted a degree in construction science or whatever.

If your daughter wants to be an electrician, fine. But it does not sound like that's what she wants. Do not let your fear limit her opportunities. When it comes time for college, only she is qualified to decide what she wants to do with her life. I would just encourage her to have a plan B to keep body and soul together until either she achieves her dream or decides on something different.
 
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