High school seniors aren’t adults yet but colleges will treat them like they are. It’s a wake-up call for parents of the college-bound to get themselves and their children ready for their upcoming parent-adult child relationship. Lots of changes are coming and this new family dynamic is developing the same time students are entering the college admission process.
It’s easy for families to be overwhelmed by the looming cost and staggering college prep to-do list. But behind all that stress is a surprising find for many parents. It’s a unique chance for the family to get reacquainted.
A mom may discover her tight-lipped teen loves to write poetry. A dad may find his sullen child becomes animated when talking about American history. Family members may realize they have more in common than originally thought or catch the fever for another’s interest. Insights happen when parents join their students in forming a team to navigate the college maze.
The advantage of the team approach is to organize and divvy up the to-do list. Parents may have their student’s back by doing some of the grunt work like finding scholarship sites or putting deadlines on a calendar. It makes it easier for students to apply for scholarships and register for standardized tests in a timely manner.
Family bonds strengthen when working together towards a common goal. This is the added benefit of the team approach. As teens grow towards legal independence, they are eager to find their place in the world. Parents have a front row seat to the transition. By providing support to teens’ status, families may relate on a whole new level.
For example, dinner conversations may become more thoughtful and fun by using college level SAT/ACT vocabulary. Business may be mixed with pleasure to turn several college visits into one great family vacation.
The bonus of the team approach is it sets communication standards for the future. Parents may use the opportunity to preview different methods and frequency of connecting and turn what works best into a habit. This way, once students are living on campus or are off on their own after graduation, they expect to speak with and see their parents routinely. And that great parent-adult child relationship got it’s start from the college admission process.
Wendy David-Gaines, aka POCSmom, provides information and insights about the parent role in the college process to make it less stressful and more fun for the college-bound and their families. She is founder of POCSmom.com, author of Parents Of College Students survival stories, and Long Island mother of two children who have graduated from college with self-supporting jobs. She is the Long Island College Prep Examiner for examiner.com.