Ohhh....you guys, I'm mad. Actually, I'm more than mad - I'm seething at this whole college admissions scandal. There are so many things to say but as a Relationship Expert and Life Coach, I want to touch on the one that stands out for me.
Accept your kids for who they are. Period.
Of course we all want our kids to have good educations. Good educations that they earned themselves. And trust me, I'm no dummy when it comes to understanding the price of education.
You see, I live in New York City where education can come at a premium. Private grade school tuition is as expensive as elite colleges. Public school is competitive because of application processes. It's all a lot to digest as a parent. My children attend public school in Brooklyn. We're fortunate that our neighborhood schools are ranked high in the city school system. But because NYC is a completely different animal from any other school system in the country, application processes are necessary beginning in elementary school. Middle school vetting requires tour taking and application rankings. And don't even get me started on the high school process. There are testing requirements for the specialized schools, audition processes for the arts schools and tours for all of them. By the time our kids submit their high school applications, most of them will have toured as many as twenty schools. FOR HIGH SCHOOL. As I type this, we are awaiting my son's fate to see which ONE of the eighteen schools he applied to allows him entrance. No, you didn't read that wrong. There were eighteen schools on my son's application. It's no joke.
While the process in New York is clearly different from everywhere else, it's a taste of what they will have to endure for college admissions. And while it's a daunting and time consuming process, it's one we can't avoid, so we do it to the best of our ability.
From the beginning of our process, the main message my husband and I wanted to convey to our son was that we want him to be happy, bottom line. We wanted him to understand that after all the tours and information gathering, ultimately he was going to make the final choice. Not us. Because he is the one who has to go to school. Because it's his life is not ours. Because we want him to be excited about his future. We never once pressured him to take a test he didn't want to take for a school he didn't want to potentially attend. We did our research, took tours, made spreadsheets and allowed him to make an informed decision about his future.
Not once did it cross our minds to grease a palm along the way. Because that's disgusting.
Here's the thing. As parents we want what's best for our kids, I get that. It's hard for us to watch them make mistakes, to fall from grace, to be hurt. But what's worse is when we don't allow any of that to happen because we have essentially cocooned them and have carried them through their lives unscathed. When we do the decision making for them. When we try to live vicariously through them by signing them up for activities we wanted to do when we were kids, not consulting with them on whether or not they actually wanted to participate in those activities.
That's not parenting. That's not relationship building. That's damaging and dangerous.
When I read about the college admission scandal that was brought to light earlier, I could feel my blood boiling. I immediately felt sorry for the kids. Did they know what was happening? Did they actually want to go to the schools they went to? Did they believe they were accepted on their own merit? Were they thriving in their environment or were they floundering? My heart breaks for the kids involved if in fact they didn't know what was happening. The amount of embarrassment and stress this scandal has caused is just gross.
I want to know from the parents: Have you allowed your child to be who they truly are? Do you accept your child for who he/she is? Do you realize the magnitude of your actions? The insecurity you've created? Are you proud of the children you've raised? What have you been teaching them all of their lives? That it's okay to cheat? To bribe your way in? The voice in my head is screaming. So. Many. Questions.
What it truly boils down to is this: it's our job to make sure our kids are safe, secure, loved, appreciated and accepted. If you're pulling strings and cheating so your kid can "have a leg up,
" then you are the one with the acceptance problem and you have failed them. Shame on you.
Accept your kids for who they are. Period.