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!

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 www.pocsmom.com to  http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.

Wednesday’s Parent: College acceptance rivalry

College admission rivalry, photo by Wendy David-Gaines

College admission rivalry, photo by Wendy David-Gaines

When it comes to college admission, there’s a fine line between bragging and sharing the good news. Parents can see the difference written all over their student’s face, especially when their student has a differing experience.

Student reaction depends on which of four categories they fit: those who got an acceptance letter, those who received a rejection letter, those who landed on the waitlist, and those who haven’t heard whether they are in or out of consideration.

The college process is stressful and difficult with a lot riding on the outcome. Although college decisions are not judgements of personal worth, they often affect the fragile self-esteem of high school seniors. Making matters worse, their friends often share a similar college list and even when others receive admission offers, financial aid awards may vary widely.

Student reaction may range the gamut from exultation to depression. This may spill over to interaction with family members and peers. As students receive responses from early decision and early action applications, it’s a good idea to prepare for the wide range of inevitable reactions. Use this time as a teachable moment to guide your family through receipt of all responses for regular admission applications. Students should be able to both share their news and consider other’s feelings.

Here are six topics for parent-student discussions about dealing with college acceptance rivalry:

  1. Just the facts It’s okay to share facts of college responses but be extra careful on social media. Schools can revoke offers of admission and have done so for reasons such as not keeping up grades and tweeting a college “dis.”
  2. Boasting Of course students with good news are bursting to share it and want others to acknowledge their accomplishments. Just be careful not to cross the above-mentioned fine line between bragging and sharing the good news. No one likes a “boaster” but the effects deepen for those with opposite results. Respect their feelings.
  3. Zipping it It’s time to change the subject when no one is asking questions or contributing comments. There will be plenty of future opportunities to chat when everyone has something to share.
  4. Silence is golden It’s okay not to want to talk college now. There’s a difference between brooding and wanting to focus on other things.
  5. Separate and different Learning how to support others is a demonstration of compassion that is separate from dealing with one’s own issues. It’s a sign of maturity and self-confidence to be happy for others or have their back when things don’t go well.
  6. Making lemonade from lemons Dealing with bad news is a life skill. Start early with a commitment to brainstorm options, look for the positive, and find the fun in tackling new challenges.

Suzanne’s great post Rivalries among college-bound teens is full of more help for dealing with college admission rivalry.

__________________________________________

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!

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 www.pocsmom.com to  http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/ and vice versa.