This year was an extremely difficult year for many. Parents and children spent a lot more time together than ever before. Although it may have seemed like too much togetherness at times, soon enough your child will be off at college, and you may be lamenting their absence. In celebration of the New Year and leaving 2020 behind, here are some resolutions to make the time you have left with your high schooler easier.
1. Maintain Balance. It’s one thing to nag your child about walking the dog, but another thing to “remind” them that they need to get near-perfect or perfect scores on the SAT/ACT and/or that they need to get into a ‘good’ college. College is only one part of your student’s life. Putting too much pressure on college-related tasks can actually make your child too stressed to succeed. And a ‘good’ college doesn’t have to be a famous college–it is one that best fits–and will nurture–your child’s individual interests, talents, and abilities.
2. Listen more. Hear what your child has to say. You just may find that an interesting person has emerged with independent opinions. Rather than starting with advice, listen to what your child is telling you. Encourage your child’s reasoning by asking, “What do you think?” and watch to see how they work out problems for themselves. This will give them a dose of confidence.
3. Set realistic goals. If your child has not been taking a rigorous course load, if their grades are not strong, if they did not earn high scores on their standardized tests, and you can’t afford to donate $5 million toward a school wing, they’re not going to get into certain colleges…and that’s OK. Even if your child is a double legacy, colleges have become a LOT more selective. This is no reflection on you or your child. There are many great-fit schools out there. International College Counselors can help match your student up with the best ones for them.
4. Relax. If you’re working with International College Counselors, you can rest assured. We help students build a realistic school list, create strong applications, introduce them to new opportunities, and make sure they’re meeting deadlines. We serve as the ‘bad guy,’ so you can have peace in your home.
5. Provide cheerful support. Encourage, praise, and lift your child’s spirits. Your student has been working hard to get to this point for 12+ years. They need to continue caring about school and college admissions. They can’t–and won’t–win by quitting before the finish line.
6. Teach your student life skills. Eating ramen noodles through college may be economical, but it’s not the most nutritious approach. Students should know essential skills like how to cook a few simple meals, how to do laundry, how to clean up after themselves, how to pay bills, and how to purchase things on a budget.
7. Get help. Hire a tutor to help or have your child seek free instructional resources from school if they are struggling to understand the material or if their grades are low in any classes. When your plumbing doesn’t work, you get help; the same principle applies here.
8. Be excited. Your child is going to college! You’ve done many things right to get to this point. Find joy in their independence.
9. Treat yourself nicely. Imagine all the great ways you can use your new free time. Do nice things for yourself; you deserve it!