The College Craze – How Does it Affect Your Teenager, Your Younger Child, and You?

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Teenagers with booksMiddle School Muddles

If your child is finishing middle school or entering high school college talk may begin. While you can keep things calm at home by reminding your child to keep learning for pleasure, the schools may be hyping it up urging the kids to take challenging courses they aren’t ready for and joining extra-curricular activities they aren’t interested in. This is how the college craze begins.

High School Headaches

If you have a senior in high school, the college choice is probably solved this time of year unless you’re faced with a wait list puzzle or a potential gap year. If you have a junior ,the pressure is on for those final exams, final year’s grades, ACT or SAT scores and maybe an AP test to add to the worries.

Some kids try to stay out of the fray and keep to themselves, but they’re just keeping a stiff upper lip holding their feelings close to the vest. Keep your eye on them.

So, as the kids worry or triumph, so do we. We may have had our hopes dashed and choices forgotten or been mightily surprised and pleased. We may feel proud of our teens with hard earned results with lots of hard work over an extended period of time, but it’s still been a drain.

Taking the Pressure off Parents

Parents are definitely needed to help their kids through this pressured time that seems to begin earlier and earlier in schools. Parents need to think what choices make sense for their child, not for themselves. There’s a lot of competition among parents as if where their child goes to college proves they have a “better” kid.

While prestigious schools give career advantages, we all know plenty of great examples of successful adults who went to unknown schools or left high pressured schools without finishing and have great careers and happy lives.

Being 17 or 18 doesn’t mean you know how to plan for the next decades and it’s unreasonable to assume that’s true or even wise.

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Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. is a psychoanalyst and author who does psychotherapy with infants and parents, children, adolescents, and adults. Dr. Hollman's new book: Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Familius.com. She writes about infant, child and adolescent development, mental health, Parental Intelligence, and a broad range of parenting topics.

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