The Unstoppable Snowplow Parent

The Unstoppable Snowplow Parent April 19, 2019

By Guest Blogger Pepa Rivero De Wenrich

College Counselor William Singer is at the center of what the Justice Department calls the largest college admission prosecution ever. Fifty people have been charged. Mr. Singer saw how far some parents are willing to go to “help” their children get into prestigious colleges and he decided to take advantage – big time!

I have heard many different reactions to the college admissions scandal, most of them about the parents and about the system. Having a son in college and a daughter who graduated just last year, I have learned how stressful the process of college applications can be. I feel sorry for the kids who seemed to have everything, but when it was time for college applications, their parents decided to take on the job as a personal matter.

(Here’s how to ready your child for college.)

There is a sad message underneath what happened. It is: “We don’t believe in you; We must take care of your education because you are not capable of doing it by yourself”. These kids probably didn’t have the chance to say what they wanted or to show what they really could achieve.

Maybe they never had the chance to prove themselves. This way of parenting doesn’t begin the day they meet the college counselor for the first time. It starts early on. The internal battle between protecting our children versus letting go is very real and it happens to all of us at some point. The tendency of parents to try to make their children’s life easier, to clear obstacles in their path, and to save them from any frustration starts the day they are born and will probably continue forever.

But despite our fears and anxiety, and despite all the excuses that responsible and caring parents make, it is wise not to do too much for them, only enough to show them how to do things and get them started and motivated. It begins by giving them the opportunity to grab the rattle by themselves, then the blanket, then the spoon… Soon they need to prepare their own backpack, take care of their things, and before you know it, they are asking for the car’s keys!

It is not always easy to let go and trust that they can do things by themselves, but they can do a lot more than we parents like to admit! By trusting in their abilities, we send a positive message: “You don´t need me; I know that you can do this on your own.”

This is the true meaning of self-esteem and self-accomplishment. Kids encounter all kinds of obstacles every day. With a little parental guidance and determination, they can overcome the many challenges that life brings. The college admission process is just one of them.

Claire Cain Miller and Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote an excellent article on snowplow parenting in the March 17 edition of The New York Times, in which they say, “Denying the children, the lesson in dealing with roadblocks takes a toll in adulthood. The point is to prepare the kid for the road, not vice versa.” It is a must read!

About Pepa Rivero De Wenrich
Pepa is a Leadership Parenting Coach certified by The John Rosemond Institute, an Early Childhood Directress certified by the Montessori Teacher Training Institute in Miami, a wife, and the mother of two. Through her business, Parent Coach Miami, Pepa offers individual coaching, classes, and presentations in both English and Spanish. She loves to share Rosemond’s parenting approach because it is clear, simple, easy to implement, and has an immediate positive impact on the lives of the entire family. She also shares the tools that she learned as a Montessori educator and her personal experiences as a mother of a cross-cultural family, which is a fascinating and challenging life!

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