In the wake of Hollywood’s latest scandal I have found myself engrossed in all its details and not only because of how disappointed I am in “Aunt Becky” but mostly because I see the damage it’s caused from a mental health perspective.
I’ve already been through the process of applying to University programs with two of my kids and in less than a year from now I will be doing it again for a third time so I know what it’s like. The process is stressful on everyone involved but sometimes as parents we make the process far more burdensome than it needs to be. Sometimes we may think we are doing what’s right for our kids but deep down it may just be our way of trying to fill our own void, doing more harm than good to them in the process. I mean heck, they are still kids when they begin the process in the first place so why wouldn’t we try and bias them. And let us not forget that only a few months prior to the start of University, while trying to make these life altering adult decisions regarding the rest of their lives, they were sitting in a high school classroom needing to raise their fricken hand to ask permission to go to the bathroom.
So I know that it’s hard as parents to want to do whatever we can for our kids if we think it will be in the best interest for their future but what’s most important to remember is that we need to listen to our children more than ever and stop pressuring them to be something we want them to be or what may look best to “The Joneses”. We quickly forget that all kids are different and that all kids have different needs as well.
Maybe if I had had more support and encouragement during this process back when I was in high school I wouldn’t have surrendered to the pressure from my parents or society and maybe I would have chosen a much different path, one that was better suited to my needs and wants. And even though it’s been over 25 years it has been a huge part of my pain and suffering over the last 5 years, something I never want my kids to feel because the pressures that teenagers and young adults face today are insurmountable compared to all other generations before them and it is taking a toll on their mental health like never before.
I never want my kids to feel like they were pressured to choose a career path they didn’t want or become someone their not. I want them to feel like they have the confidence and control over their own destination because of the support and encouragement they were given. And trust me when I say they have needed lots of it along the way thus far. You see, sadly at the end of the day, it’s the kids who wind up suffering the most, not the parents (unless your Aunt Becky). “Aunt Becky” didn’t listen to her kid’s needs or their desires and just saw the prestige and admiration from the Hollywood elite (or The Joneses in layman’s terms), or maybe she put her own needs first and felt the need to sit on the sidelines while bragging to the world (which seemed to be often) and forgetting how little it will matter in the end or who’s lives it may destroy.
Will it matter in the end that your kid got an early acceptance to the program they wanted or will it matter in the end if they don’t get into that dream school they wanted or will it matter in the end if they took a different path altogether? No, none of that will matter in the end. All that will matter in the end is that their successes, their failures and their future happiness always be supported and encouraged by you because all that will truly matter in the end is that they feel happy, healthy and empowered in spite of it all.