A Collegewise family I worked with years ago had an endearing dynamic. During our meetings together, the mother would routinely say to the father, “Honey, stop talking.”
It would be hard to find a couples counselor who would endorse a relationship where one partner routinely shut down the other like this. But here was the difference. Mom would only say that when Dad was talking for their daughter.
“She’s interested in. . .”
“She needs an environment where. . .”
“She’s very strong in math. . .”
“We need to highlight her strengths in. . .”
“Why is this school on the list? She doesn’t want. . .”
Every time, gently but directly, Mom would interject, “Honey, stop talking.”
And every time he stopped, it gave their daughter space to start.
Things worked out pretty well. Today, their daughter is a Stanford graduate, a successful talent agent in Hollywood, recently married and raising a (very cute) dog.
The more engaged kids are with their own college process, the more favorable the outcomes will be. And one of the best ways for parents to help is to occasionally remind themselves to stop—and allow their kids to start—talking.