We realize it is tough being a teenager today. Far tougher than when we were that age. We didn’t have the same pressures, decisions or competition. So what are we, as parents to do? We can’t live their lives or make their decisions. It is their time now and we have to step back and allow them to experience and work through their issues while still supporting them as individuals. They have to walk this walk in their own way and on their own. Now that doesn’t mean we don’t advise, coach, cheerlead and just be there for them. In the end, however, the decisions must be theirs. So what can we do? First, is to not be critical. They are going through some tough times and will make mistakes. So we can support them and hope that they learn from mistakes (them,) as we have over the years. Learn how parental involvement can help in the application process. Second, acknowledge that they – and probably you – are in stress. They are under a lot of pressure, internal and external, as deadlines loom. Our pressure is from the outside looking on and wanting to make it easier for them (and finding that cooperation and procrastination are our sources of stress and pressure). These times make it a family matter as the stress permeates the entire household to different degrees. And know that stress manifests itself in many forms. For some teens it can be frenetic, undirected activity; for others it can be the “deer caught in the headlights” syndrome. Yet trying to push them into different behavior patterns may only exacerbate the situation. Third, “the apple may not fall far from the tree” but teenagers aren’t apples. Just because we may be committed and happy in our current professions, doesn’t mean our children will automatically have a similar calling. They may, in fact, have occupational interests totally dissimilar from ours. Honor those differences. Parents, find out how you can alleviate exam stress. Fourth, keep communicating … constantly. They are working through decisions and stress, so are we. If either of us stops the dialog, the process is broken. Fifth and most critical, send your student to www.about-u.com and have them register. Your students will find positive answers that relate directly to their unique situation. Guidance and answers that will serve them not only in the pursuit of a degree, but a reference of themselves they can use the rest of their lives. Check us out; we can benefit the entire family. Read Matt's perspective here.
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