It’s their show

I was listening to a sports radio talk show this week where the host, distracted by a reference to the recent college admissions bribery scandal, spent fifteen of his show’s minutes railing against three specific universities that had recently waitlisted his daughter. How, he wondered, with her grades, test scores, and accomplishments (all of which he shared during his diatribe), could they have possibly waitlisted her? He also shared the outcome of a reported discussion her counselor had with one of the schools.

I understand how hard it is for a parent to see their child disappointed. But I felt just terrible for his daughter.

Not all teens are as reluctant to share the inner workings of their lives as the stereotype may paint them to be. But I’ve never met one who would want their college admissions disappointments used as radio content shared with thousands of listeners.

I wish her father had stopped to remember that as frustrated as he may be on her behalf, all of these admissions outcomes are happening to her, not to him. It’s her disappointment, not his. And it should have been her news to share, not his.

Parents, please remember that, as close as you may be to your kids, when you (over)react to their admissions outcomes, when you openly discuss your feelings about the results with those outside of your immediate family circle (and an argument could be made that even the family circle should find out from the students themselves), you’re taking away their agency in the process and making it about you.

It’s their show, after all.