Five steps to easing college stress in your house

The stress surrounding the college admissions process can worm its way into areas of your life where it has no business. That’s one reason I’ve heard so many families comment that college talk has ruined their dinner table conversations.

Parents, here are five deceptively simple things you can start doing this week that will ease the college stress in your house. None of these encourage families to disengage from their kids’ futures. They’re simply meant to put college stress in the proper perspective–and place.

1. Make a point of recognizing and verbally acknowledging something about them you’re proud of that has absolutely nothing to do with getting into college.

2. Own up to at least one mistake or failure of your own.
It’s good for kids to know that Mom and Dad are human and that even you don’t get everything right all the time.

3. Move one conversation a day away from tests, grades, or other college admissions-related factors and talk about something else instead, like current events, family vacation plans, news from relatives, etc.

4. Replace the temptation to intervene, fix, or otherwise correct with the words, “I trust you, but let me know if I can help.”

5. Openly appreciate what’s really important.
Family, health, and happiness are all more important than any grade, test score, or admissions decision.