On Friday I participated in a training as part of our financial wellness program at work. The class stated parents would need to save upwards of $250,000 to fully cover their child’s college expenses. A little shocking, right? I mean we all know college is “expensive” but I didn’t think the price would be higher than the price of our first house. And now here is the kicker, the training went on to say the average parent saves a little over $19,000. When you look at the numbers side by side, most parents barely have enough to scratch the surface for the expenses they are about to incur.
A couple months ago, we went to high school orientation held at the school for current 8th graders who would be freshman in the fall. One of the breakout sessions was on AP Classes. In the session, the counselor described the depth and breadth of AP classes available at this school and the success rate of their students. At the end of the session, I leaned over to the mom sitting next to me and wondered aloud why they went into such detail about this for incoming 8th graders. I instantly felt sad for the students whose parents were basing their high school decision solely on the number of AP classes the child could take so that they would get a jump on their college classes. In the context of the rising cost of college, I suppose it makes sense.
Yesterday, I read a post from a mom on Facebook who was looking for help with her 9th grade son. She had found materials in his room for vaping and when she confronted him about it, he said he was so stressed out about school he was using it to try to relax. It’s not enough to go to school and get “good” grades, the grades have to be exceptional. And then not only do you have to have the grades, but you must demonstrate leadership skills and participate in extracurricular activities and community service hours.
We know the price is rising, but are we paying attention to see that the cost to our child’s well-being is also rising? The pressure these kids feel is immense.
You may be thinking none of this applies to you because your kids are still young, but this is exactly the time you can start laying the groundwork. What is your attitude around homework? Is it fun or are you already in a mini-power struggle to get it done? What is your approach to grades? Do you look online every time a new grade is posted? When you talk about grades, are you discussing the effort or the result?
Our kids spend the only thing they have, time, in school. Are we showing them what they are getting in return? Are we explaining to them the benefit of learning and staying curious? Sure, they are not going to love every subject, but can we help them to see the life skills they are gaining in return? They may accuse us of putting a parental spin on “something they’ll never use in real life”, but I’m a firm believer that everything is here to teach us something. Learning doesn’t end when the school bell rings. We can’t control the monetary price tag, but we can help with the cost and we can certainly impact the life-long benefit.
Are you looking to continue your learning as a parent? I've re-opened registration for my latest online course, Communicating through Connection and if you register before April 30th, you will qualify for the discounted price. Follow the link to find out more details.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.