S.L. of Roslyn, NY writes:
the senior year of high school but halfway through (I'm counting the days),
our daughter -- an otherwise well-rounded honors student -- is driving
her Mom and Dad bonkers. We say "up," she says "down." We say "no," she
sulks, broods, and exhibits defiance in every way. Is this normal? The
stress is almost unbearable, and we have yet to begin applying to
colleges. [I can only imagine!] What can we do to achieve detente?
The College Whisperer™ responds:
Define "normal." ;-)
If you say "tomeh
to" and she says "tomah
I'd suggest an intervention. Short of coming to fisticuffs, however, it
would appear that the disconcerting behavior -- a scenario no doubt
repeated every hour on the half hour in households across America -- is
not that unusual.
Indeed, assuming you have read the manual (now on sale in the College Connection
shop), as well as the fine print in the union contract by which
children and their parents are bound (that compulsory arbitration is a
minefield), you would know that "acting out" in a contrarian manner is
all a part of the sport.
So, put your game face on in Roslyn -- and elsewhere across this great land -- for the battle of the
college-bound is just getting underway!
Yes, it's that strange
and bewildering combination of hormonal rage (theirs and ours) and
genetic disposition to rebel (them against us). The stuff that keeps
therapists busy well into the wee hours. Teens anxious to have their
independence from the parental units, while awkwardly trying to hang on
to the security of the womb. Parents wanting their children to achieve
at least a modicum of independence, while struggling with the notion
that they may not long hold on to the last vestiges of childhood.
to the mix the angst of college admissions -- the applying, the essays,
the waiting, the anticipation, the paying -- and the cauldron doth boil
over, if not regularly, then certainly, on occasion.The College Whisperer's™
has a theory that some may take comfort in. The squabbling is simply
God's way of telling parent and child alike that it is time (and okay)
to let go.
Being of a more secular vein, I look at the ensuing
struggle as an opportunity -- for teens and parents alike -- to
strengthen familial bonds, using the senior year of high school as a
time for reflection (accompanied by some necessary deflection) and
Easier said than done, especially when tempers flair and that short fuse is about to burn down, igniting the nitro.
solace that you are not alone in this process, nor in your feelings.
The emotions will run high on both ends. Try not to let them get the
best of you.
Take a deep breath, or several. Relax.
sense of perspective, and, of at least equal import, a sense of humor.
The world is not coming to an end. Your child will be off to college,
yes, but s/he will be home often, longing for Mom's cooking or Dad's
off-the-wall jokes. And kids, the countdown clock will soon run. You'll
be off to campus, and, no, Mom and Dad won't be perched upon your dorm's
doorstep every weekend. [Every other weekend, perhaps, but not every
will be times of joy and moments of sorrow. Laughter, loud and
resounding, and tears (even the kind that crocodiles are said to cry).
All a part of growing up, moving on, and (believe me, this is the
sweetest part, as you will one day come to realize), coming home again.
You bet. It goes with the territory. You can, however, with a little
work and a load of empathy (on both ends), relieve the tension and ease
Don't sweat the small stuff, especially this
applying to college silliness. Laugh in the face of adversity -- as well
as in the face of the folks at the Common App and College Board. It all
works out, and, typically, for the best. Enjoy one another's company.
Be there for each other. Shoot some hoops. Play Scrabble®.
Share and polish off a gallon of Forbidden Chocolate ice cream. [Worry about that Freshman 15 some other time.]
Perhaps the best advice can be taken from the Broadway show RENT
. There truly is No Day But Today
Live in the moment. One day at a time. Life is too short to go tit for
tat. And this, too (like the SAT, AP exams, and having your wisdom teeth
yanked), shall pass!
Be informed. Be enlightened. Be empowered!
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of The College Whisperer
Who knows what peril lurks in the college application and admissions process? The College Whisperer
™ knows. . .
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