How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?

College Search

Our counselors answered:

How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?

Scott White
Director of Guidance Montclair High School

How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?

Students should set up one day a week (and ONLY one day a week) that college can be discussed. This brings the stress level way down.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Overbearing Parent or just Misguided?

I find most parents only want what is best for their student. Still, this can often lead to tension on the home front during the college search process. I find a division of labor can be most productive: one parent is the travel agent for college visits, one parent tackles the financial piece and the student is in charge of all things application related. I try to impress on my clients that we are preparing the student to handle the independence that comes with college. It is important to allow the son/daughter to own the admission experience. As an independent educational consultant, I also keep the parents in the loop with articles tailored just for them. Unigo's website can keep them busy and content for hours! Healthy doses of praise for all they are doing to support their child in this transition from high school to college can also go a long way. Mom and dad are struggling just as much as Junior at the thought of what the future will bring. I find that a sense of humor, along with a checklist of tasks to keep everyone busy and focused, can be the ideal solution for the helicopter parent.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

Overbearing parents:

Parents' are not overbearing they are freightened that their precious child will wonder into a world without mom and dad's guidance. I provide parents with as much support as possible in the way of insisting that they attend the college tours, confirming that what they have taught their child for 17 or 18 years will not be forgotten when they leave home, and assuring them that they will have full access via the social media outlets, cell phones, and even skype to pretty much have an idea of what is on their child's mind 24x7. Additionally, I always remind them that they can visit and their young student will not want to disappoint their number one cheering squad (their parents). Most parents find comfort from a counselor who has recently experienced the empty next "overbearing" stage and are able to relax a bit knowing that this is the time they have been working for and it has arrived because they did something right in rearing a child that wants to go to college.

Helen Cella

How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?

I tell them that it's great that they're interested, but ultimately their child has to make the decision about where they go to college or they will be unhappy.

Kathryn Lento

Back off Mom & Dad

Believe or not, most parents would happily take a back seat if they felt their child was in the drivers seat. The most effective way to dial your parents down is to take the lead on your college process. Let your parents know that the timeline and deadlines are under control. Create a plan and share it with them and they should be less freaked out.

Alan Sheptin
Owner Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

Alan Sheptin, Sheptin Tutoring Group, LLC

Parents need to be engaged in the process. A child going off to college will signify and very big change in a family dynamic. In some instances, this may be the first time a child will be independent for a stretch. There are two overarching reasons for "overbearing" parents: 1. They are living vicariously through their child: they have wonderful memories of college, and hope that similar ones will be in place for their child. To them, the process is reliving the best years of their lives. 2. They are concerned for their child. They know that, in a few short months, they will not have as much control over their child as they did when their child was in high school. To that end, they must cut the core, to some degree. The parents must be engaged in the process, and be made to feel as though they are an integral part of the process. To do this, I give them important tasks, such as researching schools, finding out about college parent associations, helping them combine the business part of the trip (looking at the colleges), with a pleasure part of the trip (finding a place of interest or a really good restaurant). If parents are accorded the respect they deserve, then the process goes so much more smoothly. If not, it can be a disaster for all involved.

Barbara Jones

Overbearing parents in the college process

Be as polite as possible, but make them aware that their child has to sign permission in many cases to view grades and to provide input. Always direct your information to the student.

Suzanne Shaffer
Owner Parents Countdown to College Coach

How do you deal with overbearing parents during the college process?

Sit down and have "a talk" with your parents and let them know that while you do need their help, you want to "drive the car" during the process. Ask them to help you with organization and advice, but explain to them that you are trying to become an independent and responsible adult. Tell them that colleges expect YOU to "own" the process and you want them to see that you are capable of just that. Thank them for their help and support and assure them that you can handle this important task on your own.

Tam Warner Minton
Consultant College Adventures

Overbearing parents

If you are asking how you should deal with your overbearing parents, I assume you mean that your parents are all over you about applications and essays and which schools you are applying to, that they are causing issues at home and potentially with college visits or interviews. This generation has so many many helicopter parents! You need to sit down with mom/dad and have a talk. Explain to them how you feel, and ask how they feel. You can work it out to a happy medium, hopefully. In my opinion the applicant needs to drive the application process within the parameters parents set, but parents need to allow the student to be responsible for due dates, essays, etc. Talk, talk, talk is my answer.

Jonathan Dunn
Director Creative College Counseling, LLC

How do youo deal with overbearing paprents during the college process?

Ultimately the college search and application process belongs to the student. I try to be as diplomatic as possible with parents and remind them that the process is really about their children, not them. Students need to be placed in a position where they will make their own choices. Encouragement and support of children is much more imporatant role for a parent than than orchestrating the entire process.