If you are seeking advice for working parents feeling anxious about their child’s college admissions, as well as advice on teenage relationships for parents in this situation—you’ve come to the right place. Let’s plan for a great future, together.
It’s hard to let them go.
Parents have worried about their child’s college admissions process for decades now. Even education groups at Stanford and Harvard researched the emotional transition. To navigate this stressful time as a family, here’s what we can tell you: what your students wish you knew about their future. Here are a few insights via Empowerly counselor Denard from real student conversations:
“I wish my parents knew I was very grateful for their help. However, sometimes they should trust me a little more because this is my future, and I want to make sure that I do my best to make everything work out the way I want it to.”– Lia, student
“I wish my parents knew that college is an important process, and I know this, but it does not need to take over all of our conversations.”– Matt, student
“I wish my parents knew we were just as stressed as they were, and as much as they wanted to help us, badgering us with everything and trying to make it perfectly made us less likely to make a good product.”– Anush, student
It’s always been hard to let them go. Sending your child out to pursue a future in the big wide world is a bittersweet milestone in the parenting journey; like a bird watching chicks take flight, the thought of an empty nest may evoke a mixture of pride, sorrow, fear, or excitement. But in today’s rapidly-shifting technological world, parents have a harder time ensuring that their fledglings land safely. While securing a college degree used to be a fast track to career security, competition for coveted spots at these universities has skyrocketed in recent years.
Despite their independence, it’s hard for compassionate parents to stay impartial when students are feeling the crunch, too:
“The most common source of stress for high school students, according to the APA Stress survey, is school itself, with 75% identifying it as a major stressor followed by getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school (69%).”
“What I went through or what my kids had gone through, I can speak about that. And it’s real—it’s not something that I’m making up. So that’s why when people come and ask me questions, I guide them on what I went through.”– Sonia, parent
Feeling anxious about your child’s college admissions process?
While these doubts and fears may feel isolating, you’re not alone. Other working parents report they are anxious about their child’s college admissions future and beyond.
“Recent LendingTree data shows that 91% of employees consider helping their children plan for college or career to be a source of significant ongoing stress, to the point where they would do nearly anything to ensure their child’s future. This stress causes up to 10 hours per week of lost productivity because of focus on college-related tasks.”
Want more proof of how this stress is affecting parents everywhere?
“According to medical research, 53% of parents reported being interrupted at work for children’s mental health. In addition to that, 56% of working parent readers said the stresses of their job were much harder to handle because of their child’s emotional health and development or behavior status.”
Overwhelmed? We felt the same. This is how it went for me…
Whether you are a single working mom with no time or simply struggling with the forms required, there are plenty of reasons to need advice from a trusted source. Read the unfiltered advice for parents of teenagers, from other real working parents who have been in your shoes. These parents describe how they handled their emerging anxiety, and what they wish they could have known before starting the college search process with their teen.
“I was suffering.”
Dr. Claudia Boles thought she was prepared for her eldest son’s high school graduation: “As a parent of three teenagers and a counselor—I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker—you might think that I would have coped better with college application stress when my son applied to college.” Nonetheless, once “spring was upon us, college decision announcements continued to trickle in… my nerves were through the roof.”
Claudia explained, “As my son’s second semester of junior year came upon us, my sense of control withered. The college bug finally bit me. I began to intensively research the college admissions process and get sucked into the craze that can come along with it. News articles highlighting the soaring number of applicants to popular universities fueled my worry.”
Claudia described her bleak state of mind during the admission process: “I was clearly getting on my son’s nerves as well as on the nerves of all those around me. I began to lose sleep as I became more consumed. This had all gone way too far: I was suffering and contributing to the suffering of others.”
All in all, the stress nearly “broke” her composure and significantly compromised her mental health and family relationships during this time. She concluded with the following advice for parents of teenagers: “To those who may also be struggling with the stress of college admissions right now, know this: You’re not alone, and you deserve support.”
“I didn’t know the answers.”
Parents face all kinds of pressure to influence their child’s future. However, with the proper research, resources are out there. Empowerly parent Sonia shares her journey.
“[My eldest son and daughter] had a lot of questions regarding college applications, you know. So they were very nervous. Tons of questions they had, which I didn’t know the answers for, because I didn’t know how college admission works here [in the U.S.],” she explained. “And so to ease all those questions, I just told them [my kids] to talk to a counselor.”
“My kids had really good questions, and they also interviewed the counselors to see which one would fit the best for them,” Sonia said. After making a final decision to work with Empowerly and connecting with their respective counselors, “they were no longer lost. They had the answers; their questions were answered now. So the process didn’t seem as challenging.”
“The whole process, if I had to do it myself…” Sonia paused. “I don’t think I would have done it by myself, just looking for what’s out on the internet. So it’s an investment, investing in education. College counselors really help make your application stand out. I definitely give them credit for helping out my kids.”
Here’s what you can do to get started on the right foot.
What would you tell your younger self?
Most of all, these poignant stories highlight that the best advice on teenage relationships for parents is to start planning for a great future as soon as you can. In addition, Empowerly counselor Denard reminds us that “not every student gets into every college, and that is okay.” Let’s all take a deep breath and review these actionable steps.
- Confront the problem proactively with qualified experts, like a plan with Empowerly.
- Release worries about controlling the outcome. Trust that experts who are trained to help your student thrive can take the stress off your plate.
- Take care of yourself as a parent, too. In a rapidly changing college process, parents shouldn’t be expected to do this alone.
- Ease into your next steps (anticipate a transition period).
- Have faith that the process will work out. Look forward. You can do this!
- Start early to help reduce anxiety. With time on your side, your student can make incredible strides toward their dreams.
There’s no more reason to delay.
Students need help, now more than ever. “The launch of our Employer initiative comes at a critical time when uncertainty about the future has reached epidemic proportions for teens and parents,” said Changxiao Xie, co-founder of Empowerly. “Players in the market today address specific segments but are not holistically solving the problem for all. At Empowerly we are able to address the needs of every high school student, regardless of their current situation or goals for the future.” What’s more, working parents may be able to better articulate their needs with a comprehensive solution like Empowerly and its portfolio of solutions.
Curious to discover your high schooler’s best future? The solution for companies is here. For a full suite of support options, reach out to your employer to ask whether Empowerly could be the next move for your benefits team. With access to these invaluable resources, your student will have the tools to build their dreams.