The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this is truer than anything when it comes to pushy parents who are obsessed with their children’s college applications. Worried, but well-meaning, parents can often end up doing more harm than good and end up messing up the chance of their kids getting into the university of their dreams just by meddling too much. Of course, this is never their intention, and caring about education is hardly bad, but when done in the wrong way, it can have the effect opposite of the one intended. If the time has come for your child to choose their future, here are some things that you need to be mindful of.
Don’t take it personally
If you are from a family that has been taking care of one business for generations, don’t expect your child to necessarily want to follow in your footsteps. This is frequently true for families of doctors and lawyers. Well-respected, prosperous professions that you already have contacts in could help them greatly. However, if this isn’t something that interests them, then you should probably let it drop. If you keep pushing then you’ll only make them dislike it more, and you always need to remember that your child isn’t you, so you need to let them choose their own path.
Don’t limit their options
You’ve picked a few good colleges that you like and if your kid doesn’t want to go there, sucks for them. They better work on those grades and make a beeline path towards your handpicked options. After all, you’ve spent so much time researching these that you know they’re perfect. But Ivy League isn’t the only thing in the world, there are many other places for excellent education. Instead of picking a handful of colleges for them, help them research all that is out there. It’s never a bad idea to make a suggestion or to show them something you like. Chat with them in a casual environment and you’re bound to think of a more productive solution.
Don’t pressure them
There is already enough pressure in the world of education without parents causing the added stress. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help them become aware of the strong competition ‒ merely that support and gentle communication works a lot better than fear. Students who are afraid of failure aren’t the ones who do well in college. They don’t study because they love the subject and wish to learn more, they study so they wouldn’t disappoint someone, and that is a path to anxiety and unhappiness. So, help them fall in love with learning, help them with their struggles, with the preparation for university admissions, and with all the moments when they feel weak and think they can’t do it.
Don’t try to live through them
If you never managed to get into the school of your dreams and you ended up struggling a lot in life, it’s natural to want to make sure your child doesn’t go through the same torment. But our children are not us, and no amount of convincing will turn them into something they’re not. If they are intent on studying history or arts, don’t discourage them and force them into economy or law. It won’t bode well and just because you didn’t have luck doesn’t mean your kid won’t.
In the end, the most important thing to remember is that we need to trust our children. Even if they make a mistake, it’s just a process and a way to learn in life. Nothing is irreversible and nothing will doom them. As long as they know they can count on you no matter what they choose, everything will end up just fine.