Earlier this week, the U.S. Justice Department busted several high-profile parents in its largest-ever prosecution of college admissions fraud. The kids may have been indifferent to college and/or oblivious to the perfidy, but their parents were not about to be stopped, not when pride and status were at stake. Seriously, what would the neighbors think?
Fortunately, these parents had some extra cash lying around, and they weren’t afraid to fund some extralegal shenanigans to make sure their kids got into whichever school would impress the most people.
So why did they do it? Why do those with more money than sense cut corners and cheat systems to give their kids the world? Is it even for their children? Or is the status of their child’s education just another currency to flaunt and fall over, the natural next step for a generation of parents raised on raising their kids in the age of social media likes and sponsored hashtags? What better way to show the world the wonder of their collective parenting than with acceptance into the finest schools money can buy? It’s the Internet version of a Proud Parent’s bumper sticker.
Ultimately, we align with our friend Amy Joyce’s take on this nonsense: helicopter parenting has thrown a rotor. We’ve known for a while that micromanaging our kids’ lives limits their resilience and functionality when they get to college. And the Impostor Syndrome only gets worse when they realize they didn’t even get in on their own merits.
Let’s call this what it is: Needy parents making needier kids. As we discussed throughout Dad 2.019, great things happen from challenge, discomfort, and failure. Which is why we’re such fans of The Gift of Failure author Jessica Lahey, whose quote from Amy’s piece sums up the message that all parents of college-bound kids need to embrace: “You are not where you go.”
Instead, you are what you do. So don’t do what these parents have done.
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- “I’ll never stop trying to make myself a better person for my kids.” – Jared Bilski, The Scar That Reminds Me Fatherhood Made Me a Better Person
- “We decided that we would use your memory to help others through their own pain.” – Jeremy Haston, God Could Not Let You Go
- “Somehow, even though we had a six hour wait, we are now in a rush.” – Brett Grayson, The Snow Trip
- “Once, when my twin sons were in the early stages of being potty trained, we had what I can only describe as an incident.” – Mickey Farmer; The Gross Factor
- “It’s rare a child wants to be seen as different from her peers, and that is no different for a child battling a rare disease.” – Kevin McKeever, Getting Rock-star Treatment for Rare Diseases
‘GRAM OF THE WEEK
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