What Parents Can Learn from the College Admissions Scandal

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Most of us were shocked by the recent college admissions scandal playing out at prominent universities across the country. But parenting expert Yshai Bouss, LPC, says we can learn from it too. He stopped by to share his insights.

What Parents Can Learn from the College Admissions Scandal

1.You may have more in common with those parents than you realize. Most parents want the same thing, for their kids to realize their potential, have choices and be happy in life. When we’re not clear about what that actually means for our kids or for us (most of us aren’t), then we’re at risk for undermining our kids’ development and becoming poor role models. When our priorities are muddy, we’re likely to look the other way, find loopholes or even cheat. This is why the next tip is essential.

2.Reevaluate your priorities. How much time, energy and financial investment is geared towards improving your child’s outcomes (college admissions, test scores, athletic achievement)? How much attention, time, energy and financial investment is spent on strengthening their levels of empathy, self-reflection, resilience and most importantly your relationship with them? Where we put our time, energy and focus will dictate the values and priorities our kids internalize later in life.

3.Your child’s perception of your values is likely different than what you intend. A Harvard survey found that 80 percent of kids think their parents care more about them getting good grades than being a good person. Most of the parents in this survey said that they care more about their child being a good person. To resolve this disconnect have that conversation with your child, clarify your values, then expect to make some changes to your schedule and habits to better model these values.

4.The culture of individual achievement is bigger than any one person. Even if you’re trying to do all the right things, your child living in a culture that, in many ways, does not support your values of kindness, empathy and connection. It’s our job as parents to teach and model that the process of effort, curiosity, kindness and healthy relationships is the only road to true happiness and sustained achievement.

5.What does your teen actually want? Don’t take their answer at face value. Help them wrestle with it and come up with their own answers. We all project our own stuff onto our kids to some degree. As parents, the hardest and most important job is to get our own egos out of the way and not make it about us. Easier said than done for sure!

For more great parenting tips from Yshai Boussi, LPC, check out his blog.