We know how important your involvement is in your child's education - we also know how difficult it can be to stay on top of all of the important steps in planning and preparing for college.
Below you'll find this month's content - LEARN (info to know), DO (action to take), and TIPS (insights for success)
Success: It's More than Academics!
We’ve all seen the bumper sticker that started the academic arms race: “My child is an honor roll student.” We teach our children to not be braggarts or bullies and how to handle themselves if they feel threatened by another peer. But what happens when the bully is another parent and you are the target? This is often referred to as parent-to-parent academic pressure.
It usually starts off harmless… You’re at a neighborhood gathering or school event and a parent starts discussing their child’s academic prowess or super-high standardized test score. Being the nice person you are, you listen politely and nod, congratulating them on their student’s success. But things can get awkward if they then ask you how your student is doing. Your child is doing well but maybe isn’t at the same level as their child.
This type of discomfort can cause many parents to get defensive or even worse…take it out on their children.
Parent-to-parent academic bullying is a real thing and it often leads to disastrous results: parents feel bad about their student’s achievements because they don’t quite “measure up” to the other student. A natural reaction is to push your student even harder, to spend more time studying, working with a tutor, taking more difficult classes than they are ready for…ultimately, this leads to extreme family and student stress.
Sadly, many adults feel that their child’s success is the gauge by which their parenting can be measured. But a bully is a bully, and there are ways to diffuse the situation.
Let them know your child is doing extremely well and you are proud of him/her.
While it doesn’t have to become a bragging contest, you can discuss something positive about your child other than academics (character, happiness, philanthropy, etc.)
If pushed about reporting your child’s scores or grades, let them know that you are really more interested in your whole child’s life – not just academics.
Reiterate your pride in your child and, if you feel it necessary, excuse yourself from the conversation.
Don’t let someone else comments determine how you feel about your child and his/her achievements. Of course your proud of your kiddo! Remind yourself that it is not high academic marks that make a child successful – strong emotional intelligence, people skills, and technological know-how can carry a student very far in life. Most importantly, being a kind and caring role model for your student is the best thing you can do for them.
They are more than their scores!
In Education, there is all too often an over emphasis on scores – Grade Point Averages, Standardized Test Scores, and even Class Rank. While these scores have their proper place in schools, we know that they are not the only measures of success.
Talk with your student about their scores…and then talk with them even more about all of the other parts of their lives that you are proud of and how valuable those parts are to their futures. You can talk about their character, decision-making abilities, sense of humor, ability to persevere, their attitude toward life, their contributions to the family or community, their excellent athletic or artistic skills…
The more that you share, the more their confidence and sense of self pride will grow!
Has your student starting building a strong extra-curricular repertoire? Help them list all their activities and honors in a list that will eventually become a complete activities resume that will be shared with colleges and scholarship personnel.
Final exams - not the best part of HS but really important for their grades. This time of year can be crazy busy and hectic, help them set aside time for studying – sometimes alone and other times with a (productive) study group. Be sure to ask them if they need any other support as this can be a stressful experience for some students.
Know a school that could use some college readiness support?
We also offer Student Curriculum to schools and provide Parent Education on College Planning. Additionally, we work with schools and districts to increase the college readiness of their students. Learn more by clicking here.