Especially For Parents: What Type of Parent College Coach Are You? Part 1.
Each of us has a unique personality that will influence the way we coach our teens about college. The key is to find yourself, recognize your weaknesses, identify your strengths and adapt to provide your college-bound teen with the best coaching possible.
Senior year can be a very stressful time for both parents and students. Identifying your parent coaching weaknesses can help you reduce the stress in your household and assure your senior will have a positive college admissions process.
1. The “let me do it for you” parent college coach
If you are this type of parent, you’ve most likely been doing everything for your child over the years: making their bed, cleaning their rooms, preparing their snacks, all in the name of parenthood. But part of being a parent is teaching them to do things for themselves. We taught them to tie their own shoes, ride a bike, go to school on their own, and hopefully budget their money by giving them an allowance.
As they get older and the tasks become more difficult, like driving and preparing for college, we tend to want to take back the reins, fearing they might make mistakes that are life altering. Always remember, the college search and application process is a teen project. You can help, but don’t do it all for them.
They need to be involved and when those admissions letters arrive they will own that accomplishment.
2. The “over-anxious” parent college coach
It’s natural to worry and fret about something you do not understand, or have never experienced.
Parenthood definitely has its over-anxious moments. Teenagers are by nature over-anxious. They worry about everything: will they be accepted; will they make the cheer squad; will they pass their finals; will they be asked to the dance. Senior year presents numerous opportunities for anxiety and the last thing they need is added anxiety over their preparation for college. Be careful not to pass your anxiety on to your teen.
3. The “pushy” parent college coach
Are you a “type A” personality? Do you push everyone around you to succeed? Do you strive for the best in everything? If you answered yes to those questions, you might be a pushy parent. There is a fine line between being pushy and being a cheerleader. If you push too hard, you will overwhelm your teen.
You can encourage them by helping them to achieve their potential. Harping about deadlines and asking them constantly if they have completed their scholarship applications will only produce rebellion. The best way to handle your over-achiever personality is through organization. If you work with your teen to get them organized and they are aware of the deadlines, you won’t have to be that pushy parent.
4. The “my dreams are your dreams” parent college coach
Did you dream of going to Harvard or Yale? Do you wish you had joined a sorority or fraternity during college or played college sports? Did you always want to be a doctor or a lawyer?
We all had dreams that might not have been realized. But the worst thing you can do as a parent is to try to achieve those dreams through your children. Your teen will never be happy pursuing YOUR dreams. Their satisfaction is achieved from their own accomplishments. Their happiness comes from pursuing their own passion. The quickest way to ensure failure in college is to send your teen off to a place where they feel pressured to succeed at something they never truly wanted to pursue. Encourage your teen to walk their own path.
Author: Suzanne Shaffer counsels parents in the college admissions process and the importanceof early college preparation. Her Parents Countdown to College Coach blog offers timely college tips for parents and provides parents with the resources necessary to help their college-bound teens navigate the college maze. She is also a member of the Unigo ExpertNetwork, a College Money Insider Expert and the College Coach for Galtime.com.