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College Talk Blog

Parent No-No's in the College Process

One of my concerns as a bystander and supporter in the college process is keeping the parent and student relationship whole. In the last year or two that the student lives at home, it is important to evolve the relationship toward an adult-adult relationship that is more mentor-mentee than parent-child in nature.

The families I worry most about are those intent on keeping the relationship a parent-child relationship because that sets the stage for 2 undesirable consequences:
1) passive student not taking an active role in decisions or
2) stressed-out student who will be estranged from parents before heading to college

The passive student will have trouble adjusting at college to his new responsibilities and more shallow safety net. He may miss deadlines and fail to take care of both academic and administrative responsibilities. The stressed-out student may not do well in college if he is sentenced to a college that is a poor fit but pleases his parents. Stressed-out students my also have a more limited and strained relationship once they leave home due to the stress of the final year at home.

For future relationship sake, parents should help students transition to a more responsible role in decision making regarding college choice. One thing is certain, parents who unintentionally badger their children are hurting their relationships with important people in their lives. The fallout from that is tragic.

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