Parent College Coach Tip #10: Embrace Tough Love
Tough love. It’s a parenting tool every parent dreads; but if you’re smart, you use it liberally. In the college process, you’re going to be practicing a great deal of tough love. It won’t be fun, but it will be necessary to raise a child who recognizes consequences, takes responsibility seriously, and enters adulthood with confidence.
During the college process, use these tough love tactics:
- Discuss the importance of academics. Lay out your expectations and the consequences that will result if they fail to abide by them.
- Don’t give them everything; teach them to earn it. This teaches them the difference between wants and needs which will help greatly in college.
- Set guidelines and rules–and don’t falter. It will be tough at times, but you can’t give in to manipulation, guilt, and emotions.
- Allow them to fail. This will be hard but it teaches them that failure can be used to learn lessons and change behavior.
- Praise excellence, but not mediocrity. Praising every accomplishment will only lead to lack of motivation to strive for excellence.
- Don’t let them go to a college they can’t afford; even if it’s their dream college. This might be the toughest place to embrace tough love. But letting them go to a school they can’t afford, just because they want to, will cause them extreme financial hardship in the future.
Students whose parents practice tough love will be secure in who they are, they know what is expected of them, and they know that their hard work and achievement will be rewarded.