The other day this young woman commented on one of my blogs about parents and college. Here is what she wrote.
"I'm 18 and a HS senior. I've made the decision not to go to college and
instead enlist in the Navy. At least 10 times a week I get the "where are
you going to college" question and i explain to them my future plan. I
wish adults were forced to read your blogs!"
Are you and your friends guilty of this charge. Do you find yourself asking your teen's friends who are seniors, "so what's your list?" When your friends ask you about your high school senior, do you find yourself giving out his/her resume? "oh she/he got a blah blah blah on their SAT/ACT, has honor roll grades, and here is his/her list of colleges that he/she is applying to." I wonder how many parents have actually asked their teen's permission before they go out blab to their friends these very personal statistics. I 'm guessing if they did, most kids would blanch at the idea that their parents were offering up their report cards and test scores. So please, ask your teen's permission before you share their personnel file. When nosy parents ask you the dreaded question "so where is your teen applying?" You can say proud and out loud, "you know, (insert son/daughter's name) has asked me to not share the details of this process, and I respect that. So let's check in again with this in the spring" Done! The reality is that the reason everyone is so nosy about everyone else's kids is that want to see how their kid measures up. If your teen is doing well, you are proud and want to share your pride, and also maybe a little bit of "see what a good job I have done as a parent." And if your teen isn't at the top of his/her class, it might feel comforting to you to hear about other kids who are similar. But truly, it is nobody's business and out of respect for the difficult ordeal this is for your teen, you need to respect their privacy.
Feel free to share your feelings about the process. Maybe you are frustrated, or worried, or excited, whatever it is, feel free to share your experience of this process. The schlepping to colleges, the worry that your teen isn't working hard enough on all the essays and application and that they won't get in on time, your feelings about your teen leaving home and leaving you, all of this stuff is your experience and you totally need to get support.
And please respect the privacy of any seniors that you come in
contact with. This young woman who commented above, is not in the
minority. In fact, kids HATE when adults ask them these nosy questions.
It feeds their anxiety. If they tell you their list, and then don't get
in to those schools, it's downright humiliating. Understand that this
college process is absolutely terrifying. I will close with a quote from
a young woman who was a senior last year and wrote an article for the
"How's that college application? Don't Ask. Here is what she said:
"I 'm scared, and I don't know how to handle it. We all are. But
preparing ourselves for college is something each of us has to do alone.
Because when we actually get to this school, we're only going to have
ourselves to rely on. That's a pretty big deal, if you ask me. If you really want to be encouraging, ice cream will do just fine!"