Parents sometimes tell me "you have your work cut out for you" when they sign their teen up for college consulting. Often they suggest that I will be working with a difficult student. Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I see an eye-roll from the teen who is the subject of that parent observation.
I have rarely worked with a "difficult" student. Students I have had the pleasure of helping are very concerned about being successful in college. They are serious about finding the best fit major and college and candid about their current academic status. They apparently save their eye-rolls for parent interaction.
Parents often say to teens as we meet, "see I told you so." Exasperated teen eye-rolls usually follow that comment. Listening to parents about teens and then working individually with the same teen is a Jekyll and Hyde experience. The terrible teen turns out to be a thoughtful, reasonable person.
Making college decisions can be the most emotion-packed and stressful activity that parents and students experience. The teen is sure the parent knows nothing current and accurate about colleges and processes. The parent is worried about student success and a host of safety and cost factors. They are often at odds with each other because their perspectives are so polarized.
Adding neutral support to both parent and prospective college student tamps down the stress and conflict and helps the parent relax and the student feel more confident.