What are my Roles?

As we consider again (and again, and again) the perpetual invitation to examine the ways in which we bring a sense of intention and purposefulness to being a parent, it is essential that we look at the parts we play in our children’s lives.

In my College Parent 101 presentation, I pose the following question to parents: “What roles do you hold with your daughter or son?”  Another way to view this might be: “What roles define your relationship?”  An additional way to consider this might be to ask, “How do the roles I have keep me attached to my daughter or son in particular ways?”  In my own experience as both parent and university faculty/administrator, I know that much of the struggle we experience, and/or our children experience with us, is around the ways we define our relationships.

If you would, take a moment to identify the Roles you hold with your new or rising college student.  Go ahead; grab a note pad and pen, and make a list.  What comes to mind?  Responses such as: teacher, mentor, coach, and friend come to mind quickly.  But, there are also a host of practical life-based roles we have assumed out of the necessity and demand of daily life, such as: taxi driver, scheduler, nurse, party planner, ATM machine, and the like.  We are often not fully aware of how we “live out” of these roles – sometimes multiple times a day – and how they define our relationships because we equate them with “being a parent.”

Now that I have identified a few more, return to your note pad and make a list of what you find to be true for yourself.  Whether you do it now, or later, please take a few minutes to do it for yourself and for your student.  These roles are often the very things that we hold on to without realizing it, which can ultimately lead to us staying stuck while needing to transition to a new kind of relationship – one with new roles; new ways of being in relationship.

It is vital for our success as parents, and for the success of our student’s self-competency and resiliency, that we be aware of the connections we have with each other and how either, or both of us may be holding on to them.  If we don’t acknowledge these; that is, recognize if and/or why they need to end or change, we will hold on to them longer than is necessary.  They then serve as stakes in the ground of our relationship, preventing us from moving forward to a mature and healthy new place.

The metaphor that I believe speaks well to this is: Our job as a parent is never over, but our job description is always changing.  In what ways may you be regularly looking – with intention – at your “job description”; releasing your hold on roles that you may need to let go of, or at least reconsider attaching to in a new way?  This is the good, hard work of relationship!

 

Scared to Fail!

In the course of writing the entries for CP101, the most “re-posted” or shared piece I have ever done here was on the topic of failure: Learning to Fail.  I sense that underneath much of our fear for the choices and decisions our daughters and sons make is that the decision will lead to failure.

When it comes down to it, its not really the failure we’re afraid of, but what comes after that: the fear of the unknown, we commonly call it.  The irony of it is, we can’t be afraid of what we don’t know!  So here is a great article addressing the fears as much as the failure and how we get tripped up around both.

Enjoy!

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3027404/scared-of-failing-ask-yourself-these-6-fear-killing-questions?partner=newsletter

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Hovering…

The term “helicopter parents” has become so familiar in our culture that it is now commonplace.  Visual imagery brings to mind the overly protective, hovering parent or parents who, with (they would certainly say) all the best intentions, go beyond historic norms of their parental role to make sure that their child has the optimum life experience.

This is a growing dynamic for university administrators and faculty as the hovering has, in recent years, become not only more evident, but more aggressive.  I read recently of the newest version of the phenomenon: “Apache helicopter parents,” describing the growing aggressiveness of many parents to make the reality THEY want come true.

I suspect many of you would be startled by some of the Continue reading “Hovering…”

Seasonal shifts —

With the arrival of both cold weather and/or the passing of the holiday season’s activities, we all have some reaction to the changing seasons.  Whether it is dark when we wake or dark when we leave school or work, the shift in seasons brings any number of reactions.

For some, the shift can also be associated with other issues.  I’d like to thank Dr. Jesse Viner from the Yellowbrick Treatment Center for the chart you’ll find below explaining one of the more recent phenomena in the world of mental health issues. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression associated with late autumn and winter and thought to be caused by Continue reading “Seasonal shifts —”

How to Raise an Adult

A cadre of new publications is coming to market based on growing research evidence of the long-term effects of what we’ve come to know as “helicopter parenting”.  There has been anecdotal evidence for some time; be it comments from teachers or the railing of cultural commentators, that this “hovering” style of parenting teaches kids reliance that minimizes resiliency, or an inability to trust decision-making abilities.

The piece below is an excerpt from a new text which gleans some of the current statistics from academic institutions themselves as to the day-to-day effects of this dynamic.  I have been talking about this from one angle for a number of years: my own experience as both an administrator and faculty member in the ways I see this present in the lives of those students I interact with daily.  It is another thing, and at another level, to recognize the gravity of what this is doing to and in our rising generation of leaders, AND, I sense the weight of responsibility we (parents) bear for the context we have created.

So, I leave you with this piece; to wrestle with the issue on a large scale, and to engage with your individual contribution (as I’m doing) in the life of your daughter or son. Continue reading “How to Raise an Adult”

Overparenting…

A friend sent this article recently, knowing that I am waist-deep in this conversation, especially this time of year; mid-summer in the heart of New Student & Parent Orientation season.

I’ve not read the book (yet), though I sense I will as I hear the author’s premise ringing true to the one I’ve recognized in my own work as a parent, and as I continually speak to the necessity of an intentional and thoughtful relationship transition in the myriad ways that I do here.

I’d be interested to hear from you about how you engage in your own family and life with the perspective that the author poses in this excerpt.

http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/06/09/what-overparenting-looks-like-from-a-stanford-deans-perspective/

As always…Peace for the Journey, Dane.

Spring Break is around the corner…

With the advancing calendar, spring is right around the corner.  With that comes the decision about what to do for Spring Break – go home, look for a summer job, or with the new-found freedom of college take the first college spring break trip.

There are more than enough tales of famous and infamous spring break experiences, some of which you may be able to recite yourself.  We even have access to television shows documenting the escapades of raucous students tossing logic, good sense, and sometimes their very selves to the wind for a few days of “letting off some steam” to cope with the demands and pressure of the daily grind.

Surveys of current college students tell us that more than 60% will Continue reading “Spring Break is around the corner…”

Courage to be Vulnerable

As any regular reader of CP101 will tell you, I’m typically finding any tact I can find to lean us toward new ways to wonder, look at, or consider the work we each still need to do around “showing up well” in our closest and most intimate relationships.

I have on a couple of occasions mentioned the work of Brene Brown who has spoken and written extensively on the topic of vulnerability and shame (the primary focus of her research).  Her TED talks have topped the charts – one at over 18 million views – more than just hinting at her very accessible conversations on the topic, both as a researcher and as a wife, mother and human.  http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.

I also subscribe to the interview series: On Being. A fascinating collection of interviews exploring the spiritual and human search.  I listened recently as host Krista Tippett interviewed Brown on the topic of Vulnerability as an essential component of Courage; both of them modeling the difficulty and desire to explore the myths and deep truths of what it looks like to, as Brown seeks to expand, live wholeheartedly.

There is a specific part of this related to parenting that I find to be completely resonant with what I have speaking to for a long time.  So, I’d like to encourage you to take the time, with your parenting partner and/or with you daughter/son, to sit down and listen to the truths explored here.

Peace all around, Dane

http://www.onbeing.org/program/brene-brown-on-vulnerability/4928/audio?embed=1&utm_source=On+Being+Newsletter&utm_campaign=18478543c5-20150131_Brene_Brown_Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1c66543c2f-18478543c5-69848605

 

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What’s My Role?

As we consider again (and again, and again) the perpetual invitation to examine the ways in which we bring a sense of intention and purposefulness to being a parent, it is essential that we look at the parts we play in our children’s lives.

In my College Parent 101 presentation, I pose the following question to parents: “What roles do you hold with your daughter or son?”  Another way to view this might be: “What roles define your relationship?”  An additional way to consider this might be to ask, Continue reading “What’s My Role?”

It’s FAFSA time!

It’s time. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is how millions of students apply for federal, state and most college-based financial aid. And because government grants compose 74 percent of this $185 billion pool, it’s understandable for families to feel anxious when filling out the FAFSA.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Susan McCrackin, Senior Director Financial Aid Methodology at the College Board, offers this eight-step map to help parents and students work through the FAFSA as efficiently and effectively as possible.

1.   Gather Your Documents

It is much easier to fill out the FAFSA if you have all the needed forms in hand before you start. Here’s a list of documents to get you going. You should also get a U.S. Department of Education personal identification number (PIN.) Here’s the PIN application link.

2.   Think About Taxes

Parents’ taxes are an important part in the FAFSA process. Getting taxes done by February 1st may be unrealistic, so last year’s taxes and this year’s paystubs can help create estimates. After February 3rd, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool becomes available, allowing students and parents to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA and transfer the data directly into their FAFSA from the IRS website. And if you owe the government money, take note: you can complete your taxes without actually filing and cutting a check to Uncle Sam.

3.   Find Quiet Time  

The FAFSA has a lot of sections. Breaking them into smaller pieces makes the FAFSA easier to navigate. Consider these do’s and don’ts.

  1. Don’t sprint. Take questions one at a time and give yourself time to properly answer each question.
  2. Do read each question carefully and out loud. It will help you understand the question better.
  3. Don’t multi-task. Put your mobile phone away, and turn off the television.
  4. Do find a quiet place where the FAFSA will have your full attention.

4.   Stay Student Focused

Parents often forget that the student always provides information. Parents are required to provide their information if the student is dependent.

So when parents see a question that refers to “I,” remember that “I” is the student. “You” is also the student. When questions address parents, you will see questions that refer to “your parents.”  This is where parental information goes.

5.   Avoid Parent Traps

As families evolve, so do questions about who needs to provide information for the FAFSA. When you see “parents,” FAFSA is referring to the student’s biological or adoptive parents. When the parents are married, then the student and both parents complete the FAFSA.

If the parents are not together, things can get confusing.  BigFuture by the College Board created the corresponding infographic to help address some commonly asked questions.

6.   Keep Track of Deadlines

Every college has a different set of deadlines based on priority, merit, early decisions etc. BigFuture by the College Board helps families sort through these deadlines with detailed college profiles and a free, customized action plan. And, should you have specific questions about specific colleges or universities, don’t be afraid to call the college’s financial aid office and ask questions.

7.   Profile CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®

The FAFSA opens the doors to federal aid. There’s also almost $50 billion in non-federal aid available – from colleges, states and private institutions. Some colleges and programs use the College Board’s CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE to help award these monies.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is an online application that collects information used by almost 400 colleges and scholarship programs to award financial aid outside sources from the federal government. Families must complete the application and the College Board sends it to the colleges and scholarship programs they have chosen.

Here’s a list of colleges that use CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® and where you go to complete the  CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE®.  Sending your CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE® report to one college or scholarship program costs $25. Additional reports are $16 each. There are fee waivers available for low-income families.

8.   Gain Experience

The more you experience something, the better you do. This free FAFSA webinar walks you section by section through an actual application with the College Board’s Senior Director for Financial Aid Methodology, Susan McCrackin. Families can access the free FAFSA webinar 24/7.

It’s time. Go after your piece of the more than $185 billion in financial aid to help make college possible. Use BigFuture for advice and to help create a customized plan for your child. Then follow the map. Chances are it will lead to an investment that provides returns for the rest of your child’s life.

*Posted in conjunction with: The College Board

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