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"A C- Parent on a Good Day"


One of my absolute favorite parent educators, Vicki Hoefle of Duct Tape Parenting, hosted her weekly Ask Vicki FB Live today, and suddenly, I became one of those over-zealous commenters with the insatiable desire to hit "like"and "love"every two seconds while she was speaking. Her words were that powerful for me this morning, and after 11 minutes of listening to her wisdom, creative juices started flowing.

I couldn't open my computer fast enough, and in workout clothes and a baseball cap I couldn't bring myself to turn on my camera for my own FB Live (like she did), so I started typing. (BTW I shared her FB Live in my private College Conversation Facebook Group. If you haven't joined, it's free and a great resource for parents of college bound teens).

Here's what rang true for me this morning and I think it may ring true for you, as well.

She's not a natural at parenting. "A C- on a good day,"in her words.

Woah. How many of us feel that way? I know I sure do.

But what made her "C- on a good day" so powerful as a parent was that she had something others didn't--curiosity and the innate ability to question and constantly challenge her own thinking. "I didn't trust one single thought I had until I tested it...Is there another way to look at this?" she would ask herself.

Boom. She said she would hear things, watch her kids, watch other kids, and listen, and then, would think, "Is the way I am looking at this helpful and healthy?" That's powerful stuff right there. Such a great reminder!

And that is sooooooooo how I choose to engage parents in this college admissions process.

A lot of the anxiety that surrounds parenting issues stems from our own mindset, our own anxieties, and how we choose to address college talk in our circles.

I've said this many times to parents about this process: "Parents: now's the time to get your own insecurities in check before they become your student's anxieties and worries." They have their own worries!

So, what are you worried about?

My DD (Dear Daughter) won't get in a to a good college.

My DS (Dear Son) will miss major college deadlines.

My DD isn't ready for college.

My DS isn't "enough"for (insert name of selective college).

Whatever it may be, I encourage you to stop and reframe the worry in real terms.

If you're worried that your daughter won't get in to a good college, how are you defining what's "good"?

I guess there certainly are "bad"colleges in terms of ones that don't fit your child's needs, but the "good"piece is what may need an attitude adjustment. What is a "good"college? I think if you stop and define that, you'll get to the crux of your own anxiety. Case in point: I'm a UCSB alum. You know how many people perceive UCSB to be a party school for a bunch of drunks? Well, it wasn't that way for me at all. It was a place of serious intellectual enrichment where I got to know professors and thought-leaders in intimate classroom settings and small seminars. It wasn't just a "good" school; it was SUPERB.

Same with any worries about your son missing college application deadlines. If this process is important to him, and he knows the deadlines coming up, and he also has been taught that you won't come in and save the day the last minute, he'll apply on time. If he knows that you'll end up doing it all for him because that's how things have worked until now, well, that's another story. He certainly might procrastinate knowing that the day will be saved and you'll do the application for him. Can you blame him? Even if this is the case (and I AM NOT ADVOCATING YOUR DOING THE APPLICATION), he will certainly not miss a deadline. So nothing to worry about there.

Vicki Hoefle this morning shared that even though she consistently felt like she was a C- parent on a good day, her natural curiosity got her through it. She thrived in uncertainty. There are definitely moments when uncertainty feels incapacitating. But, when it comes to college admissions--do yourself a favor and give yourself a break. If you're feeling uneasy, it usually means there's more than one way to cut it. So, that's your signal to stop and think. Weigh the options. Get to the root of what's causing the anxiety. Ask yourself questions. Do your research. Then, have a conversation with your child about it (if it's still necessary) after you find some clarity.

Because the reality is:

Your DD will get in a to a GREAT college (for her).

Your DS will not miss major college deadlines because believe it or not, this college thing matters to him.

Your DD is ready for college (or isn't) and either way, she will be be fine whether she goes off to college right away or takes some time to figure it out.

Your DS is certainly "enough" in more ways than one. And it's our parenting job to help our children feel more than enough because they are!

What are you worried about? Make a list and challenge your mindset today. It takes practice, but I think you'll feel better.

And, please let me know.

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