Wednesday’s Parent: The green-eyed parent monster


Green eyed monster and parenting

Green eyed monster and parenting

We know what to say to our children when the green-eyed monster shows up but what do we say to ourselves?

Last week Suzanne and I presented ways for parents to deal with rivalries among their college-bound teens. We can relate to similar feelings of jealousy and envy because we’ve been there and done that. Too bad experience doesn’t automatically deflect these negative emotions.

If you fretted about who’s baby sat up, talked and walked first, the parent competition began early for you. By the time kids are teenagers applying to college, the stakes seem higher because they align more with adult issues.

Who gets the higher GPA, the greater SAT score, more offers of college admission, or the most financial aid may seem like bragging rights or bitter resentment. But just as students should be able to share their good or bad news and seek support of their peers, so should parents.

Like many choices in parenting, fending off the green-eyed parent monster involves finding the proper balance. Here are five suggestions:

  1. Be logical Like Mr. Spock, keep emotions in check with your mind. Your instincts may be to dwell on the moment but your intellect will tell you to put this into perspective. Share in the triumphs and sorrows without being an “exaggerating the significance parent.”
  2. Channel the jealousy Turn the negative feeling into a positive by looking at your child with fresh eyes to see if she is on a path to burnout. College-bound teens are under a lot of stress to succeed. Back off if you have been too “authoritative” or step it up if you have been too “lenient.”
  3. Own it The “it” in this case is a parent’s life. Own it, focus on it and live it, not that of your child’s, or you may become a “helicopter parent.” Ask yourself if you are preparing your offspring for adulthood or using it as your own second chance.
  4. Value you Your child will have both accomplishments and failures, each with their own teachable moments. Be there for support to bolster your child’s self-esteem not your own, or you may become a too attached “vicarious parent.” Develop and appreciate your own skills, talents and abilities to enjoy separate interests and activities.
  5. Trade places Mentally trade places, that is, with other parents to better understand what they are going through. Set an example for your child by “being the bigger parent.”

Like parenting styles and personality traits, the green-eyed parent monster may help or hinder college-bound children.

Suzanne is ready on her blog to share her tips about parent competition and the green-eyed parent monster.


Wednesday’s child may be full of woe but Wednesday’s Parent can substitute action for anxiety. Each Wednesday Suzanne Shaffer and I will provide parent tips to get and keep your student on the college track. It’s never too late or too early to start!

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