Anxiety has become an epidemic. The reasons are myriad and my take will go against the prevailing wisdom. Simply put, it is not because of external factors. The world has not become harder. But rather, we have become softer. Softer does not mean worse. I think our generation of parents is more compassionate than the prior generation. In our compassion, however, we – collectively – shy away from compelling our children to deal with the tougher parts of reality. I recently hear the term “bulldozer parents” to describe parents who surpass helicopter parents in their zealousness by knocking away problems before their children even confront them. With all these criticisms of our generation, I look in the mirror and know that, despite my best efforts, I am, occasionally, guilty of all.
The one thing I am not, however, is what I call an “avoidance parent” – those who feel uncomfortable bringing up issues that will upset their children – like test-taking or the college process – because they want their children to appear happy at all times. I’ve had parents tell me that they are avoiding the subject because “it is too stressful these days.”
I note that it may feel more stressful but the process is actually much easier now than back in our day:
When we – parents who grew up in the 70s-80s-90s – took the SAT, the following was the case:
(1) every test counted
(2) students rarely took the test more than twice as it was looked down upon
(3) there was no ACT – at least for those in Connecticut and other East Coast locations
(4) there was no super scoring
Today, students taking the SAT:
(1) Have score choice – students can submit whichever tests they want (some colleges do not honor score choice)
(2) Due to score choice and super scoring, taking the SAT 3-4 times is fairly common
(3) The ACT is an equally used test
(4) Super scoring – taking one’s best verbal SAT and math SAT from different tests- makes the testing game far easier
Here, the external factors for testing are far less anxiety provoking. Yet students feel greater anxiety.
The way to combat: prepare.
And there is no better way to prepare than taking our class.