Wednesday’s Parent: Emotion management 101

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotion management 101. Photo by Wendy David-Gaines

Emotions can drive action forward or into the ground. This one insight defines how I described the parent role in the parent-student team approach to college prep. Surveys and scientists explained how emotions can help or hinder students to achieve their college and career dreams.

Parents cannot expect their students to do their best if they are not vested in the college process, I have said and written many times. “The best educators know that for students to achieve meaningful, lasting success in the classroom and beyond, they must be emotionally engaged in the educational experience,” Gallup notes.

Negative emotions can lead to huge setbacks like burnout. A developmental psychologist and research affiliate of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a psychoanalyst and associate director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence joined together to write an interesting article in OpEd Project’s Yale Public Voices Fellowship program, reported The Washington Post.

They found, “many college students are struggling, even suffering.” High school students and their parents can be so focused on doing what is necessary to get into college that they don’t ready themselves for the emotional challenges of adjusting to a new job as college student, moving to a new place, and meeting/living with new people. That’s a lot of change to deal with.

Good-bye comfort zone and hello loss of security. Educators may step in to help. However, parents can start now to assist their students in developing skills of emotional intelligence to reason with and about emotions to achieve goals and thrive. Here are five ways to begin:

  1. Offer encouragement. There is a big difference between being supportive and taking over.
  2. Provide expectations. Clear understanding enables students to rise to the occasion and recognize limits.
  3. Give freedom to fail in a safe way. Slowly turning over the college prep leadership role enables students to learn from their own mistakes and gain confidence from making good decisions.
  4. Self-check. Parents can put aside their own anxiety so they don’t transfer their own feelings of worry, disappointment and anger.
  5. Listen carefully. Establish an open and regular communication policy. Look for the cues when your child is anxious and pressured. Does he or she know what to do to lower their own anxiety? Do you both know where to go for more help?

Read Suzanne’s post: 6 Emotional College Prep Tasks


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!

The bonus is on the fourth Wednesday of each month when Suzanne and I will host Twitter chat #CampusChat at 9pm ET/6pm PT. We will feature an expert on a topic of interest for parents of the college-bound.

Wednesday’s Parent will give twice the info and double the blog posts on critical parenting issues by clicking on the link at the end of the article from to and vice versa.