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College Talk Blog

Personality Change on Elm Street

Parents have reported a personality change phenomenon taking place in their once calm, mild-mannered children as they enter 11th grade. The nicest 16 year old, has been reported to sometimes morph into something resembling The Incredible Hulk.

The catalyst preceding the change, according to parents, is any discussion about college choice, college major and college tasks. The behaviors cited by parents include moodiness, agitation and a reluctance to enter into discussions or complete tasks necessary to get ready for college.

This phenomenon is normal. Teens feel conflicted about who should be in charge of college process. They simultaneously feel that they are approaching age 18 and should bear the responsibility for college preparation and that parents should be in charge. It is easy to understand their conflict since all things education have historically been parent territory. At the same time, they worry that parent involvement could lead to a college choice that is not their favorite.

The good news is that this turbulent phase is short lived. The goal for families is to maintain harmony through the last major decision they will make as a family and help the student make the best decision.

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