Connecticut parents: overcome your short term anxiety to deal with long term decisions

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“I don’t want to create stress.”

“These kids are stressed enough already.”

“We’ll deal with college stuff later.”

I get it. I really do.  As a father of three, I don’t want to create stress for my children.  I do think that some kids are stressed about important things.  And, I fully understand the desire to kick the can down the road to deal with anything anxiety provoking.

Here’s what I know from helping young adults navigate the college process during the last 15 years:

1.) Those that start earlier almost always have better outcomes AND are happier during the process

You know college is coming.  Your kids know college is coming.  Putting off discussions about college simply places the stress in the sub-conscious where you and your kids cannot do anything about it.  Dealing with what you can control – start shopping for colleges, do SAT prep, get good grades etc. will make you less stressed.  And trust me the most unhappy people – kids and parents – are those that start too late.

2.) Some kids are stressed related to long term goals. Most kids are stressed due to teen life.

I grew up outside of New York.  Many parents were 1st or 2nd generation Americans.  They had it tough.  We had it less tough but we saw our parents work very hard and we – or at least those who were college bound – were under ten times more pressure to work hard from our parents than most of the kids I see in the Guilford -East Lyme area.  As an outsider observing those who live in on the Connecticut shoreline, I can say with full certainty that most of our high school students are not working anywhere near their full potential.

3.)Deal with it now – you’ll be happier.

SAT (and ACT) prep is one of the things that can/should be done in the summer – if possible.  College discussions – perhaps one “kick off to college” – as I call it with my college counseling clients is another.  And, if you have been wondering whether where one attends college matters:

Yes, it does matter where you go to college