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Beyond College Cost Planning - Are Our Kids Ready Emotionally?

| March 26, 2019
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I wrote this in September of 2017 but I think it is still relevant, especially after the most recent scandal regarding affluent families paying their kids into college. We, as parents, focus so much on giving our children an easier life that sometimes we forget that hardship, setbacks and yes even outright failures build better teens and adults. If they don’t fall, how can they learn to pick themselves up? Helicopter parenting has turned into Snowplow parenting. Lily is closing out her 2nd year at Padua and I still have the swell of emotions that I had when she first got out of my car but I as continue to see her grow, I’m feeling a little bit better. So enjoy what’s below and let me know what you think?

September 2017 - My daughter had her first day of high school today. I have a ton of mixed emotions. I am proud of her and all that she is accomplished. I am excited for her and the future she will begin to set out on. I am also a touch nostalgic and sad. My baby girl is growing up and I really have another 4 years with her in the house before college. With a good ¾ of them being spent in her room on her iPhone with her friends!

Like many parents, these last four years are crunch time for when it comes to savings for college. Hopefully by now 529 plans have been in progress for years and now might be a good time to kick them into overdrive. It also might be a good time to see where you stand and how much you actually can afford.

But as I watched my daughter cross the street and walk into her new home for the next four years, I spent more time thinking about whether I have prepared her emotionally and intellectually for what is to come? With high school and college comes greater freedom and responsibility. What also comes is exposure to new risks and opportunities. How will she handle it? Will she have the courage to walk away from a bad situation? Will I have the patience and be able to connect with her when she really needs me?

As many of you know, when I have these type of concerns, I tend to research, seek out other professionals and read about ways to help me navigate the situation. Here are some books that I’ve found, not only to help me to continue to connect with Lily but really with my two younger ones too.
Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour. This book has been a wealth of information on how to converse with pre-teen and teenage girls. I have found myself going back to specific chapters just to make sure I communicate important topics to both my girls.
Why Gender Matters by Leonard Sax. This book helped me identify the true differences between boys and girls, not the ones that society creates. It has helped me again with communication, discipline and in some key parenting decisions not blowing it.
Mindset by Carol Dweck and Grit by Angela Duckworth. Both books are about the importance of your mind in visualizing success and the ability to overcome short term failures.
10 Ways to Grow Tiny Superhumans by Ben Greenfield. One of my favorite podcasters wrote this novella on how necessary it is for our children to experience risk and to play unstructured. It’s short, sweet, based in science but not a science book.

As parents, we try to do the best we can with what we have, hopefully these books can help. What books, blogs and other resources do you use?

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