Parent College Coach Tip #60: What Is Your Parenting Style?

parentingWhat type of parent college coach are you? What is your parenting style? Each of us has a unique personality that will influence the way we coach our teens. The key is to find yourself, recognize your weaknesses, identify your strengths and adapt to provide your college-bound teen with the best coaching possible.

The “let me do it for you” parent

If you are this type of parent, you’ve most likely been doing everything for your child over the years: making their bed, cleaning their rooms, preparing their snacks, all in the name of parenthood. But college prep is different. It’s your role to guide them, teach them, and train them. Always remember, the college search and application process is a teen project. You can help, but don’t do it all for them. They need to be involved and when those admissions letters arrive they will own that accomplishment.

The “over-anxious” parent

It’s natural to worry and fret about something you do not understand, or have never experienced. Parenthood definitely has its over-anxious moments. Teenagers are by nature over-anxious. Their four years of high school present numerous opportunities for anxiety and the last thing they need is added anxiety over their preparation for college. Knowledge is power—if you have the tools and know the facts you’re anxiety will decrease and you will be less likely to pass that along to your teen.

The “pushy” parent

Are you a “type A” personality? Do you push everyone around you to succeed? Do you strive for the best in everything? If you answered yes to those questions, you might be a pushy parent. There is a fine line between being pushy and being a cheerleader. The best way to handle your over-achiever personality is through organization. If you work with your teen to get them organized and they are aware of the deadlines, you won’t have to be that pushy parent.

The “my dreams are your dreams” parent

Did you dream of going to Harvard or Yale? Did you always want to go away to college and live in a dorm? Do you wish you had joined a sorority or fraternity during college or played college sports? Did you always want to be a doctor or a lawyer? Your teen will never be happy pursuing YOUR dreams. Their satisfaction is achieved from their own accomplishments. Their happiness comes from pursuing their own passion. The quickest way to ensure failure in college is to send your teen off to a place where they feel pressured to succeed at something they never truly wanted to pursue.

The “I’ll think about that tomorrow” parent

This is where I fit in. I’m the world’s worst procrastinator. This is the worst time in your teen’s life for you to model or encourage procrastination. The next four years can be daunting and even overwhelming, but if you approach them without planning and organization, you will never survive. Preparation and organization are keys to overcoming procrastination. Thinking about it tomorrow will only lead to frustration, disappointment, and regret.

The “uninvolved” parent

Your teen still requires your input. They may protest greatly and say loudly, “I can do it myself.” But what they really mean is I want to try with your support and help. If you make the mistake of turning the whole process over to your teen, the odds are great that they will become overwhelmed and frustrated to the point of giving up. Their minds and lives are headed in hundreds of different directions and staying on task can sometimes be inconceivable. It’s your goal to steer them back on course and help them reach their final goal.

The “well-balanced” parent

The well-balanced parent utilizes the best organizational tools to help their college-bound teen stay focused and on track. This is the type of parent coach we should all strive to become. You balance coaching, encouragement and guidance with information gathering, organization and goal setting. You coach without pushing, pressuring or stressing out and your teen knows that they have your support and can look to you for positive feedback.

We all have different parenting styles, but think about incorporating the best of each and becoming a well-balanced parent. The college process will be less stressful and your college-bound teen will be less stressed.

Parents – Want more Parent tips? GET THEM HERE! Don’t forget to read all of the Scholarship Mom Tips here.

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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