You know my daughters going to college, right?

Ok Ok- this is not about my daughter and her journey. But it does talk about the path we had to take.

In Manhattan, we don’t have zoned schools- Kids apply to High School. As there are different types of students, there are different types of high schools. My daughters is selective, meaning middle school grades and tests count, and is also considered college prep- the entire curriculum is based upon getting into a four year college. So basically, it’s a school of smart driven kids, backed by smart driven parents.

Oh the parents.

The parents enter this school with delusions of grandeur. Every parent assumes that there kid is going to a “sweatshirt” school- a school so recognizable that pretty much everyone has heard of it, and is sure to remark ‘Oh- that’s a good school” (whether or not they actually know anything about it)

You’ve heard me talk about how hard these sweatshirt schools are to get into, the majority being an acceptance rate of 30% or below. And you heard me talk about how many colleges my daughter and her classmates got rejected from. (FYI- the salutatorian from my daughters school is going to her “likely” school because she was rejected from everything else- so what does a 99GPA and a 35 on the ACT get you anyway?)

I know a Mom who has a son at my daughters school. The son is smart with decent grades and decent ACT score. He does his homework and he goes to class, but he puts in less than medium effort into anything. He did the minimum hours of community service required, and has no extras. None. So when his Mother went to the meeting with the college counselor, the counselor told him he should really consider early decision, and really be careful of what schools he chose, because you know, you need to be realistic. This scared the Mother so her son did indeed apply to a school ED, and was accepted. Done deal.

Now let me say that he got into a really good school- top hundred no matter what survey you look at. Kids get jobs and into graduate school after finishing there. Solid school.

The Mother is not happy. I mean she is really pissy about the school he is going to. Her EXPECTATION is that her son is way better than this school. The reality is that this school is exactly where he belongs- and honestly- he’s lucky he got into it.

Here’s the thing about expectations: they need to have some logical basis. Yes- her son is smart. He had a nice average. But in the world of competitive academics, that’s not enough. You need to stand out.

Everyone thinks their child is the best thing in the world. That’s the way it’s supposed to be: in your heart you are supposed to think that there is no one better than your kid. But in your head… your head you have to know exactly how your kids compares to everyone else so that you can help them achieve their best life. You need to figure out what you can do to help your child succeed at whatever is important to them. This is not the time for blinders and excuses.

This Mom does tend to make excuses for why her son doesn’t do things. It’s so hard to find a volunteer job, how can the teacher expect that of someone, etc. In your head you can’t keep making excuses for your kid. You have to accept the personality that they have and work with it to bring out their high points. You can’t expect them to be something they’re not.

Parental attitude also matters. Now that all the kids have accepted spots in colleges, the paperwork begins. First up: orientation. Many colleges are now adopting pre-orientation programs. They have different areas of interest: some are leadership based, or do community service or just do some sort of survival thing in the woods. They’re done to give kids the opportunity to meet some of their classmates before official orientation. Some of these programs cost money. My Daughter is going to try to do one (her college makes you apply to them) This particular Mom doesn’t want her son to do it because it’s a “scam” to get money. Now, I have a different version of “scam”. I think a “scam” is where you pay for something but get nothing in return. I think of the pre-orientation as an opportunity. And we don’t turn down opportunities in this house. These programs are a chance to learn about something you might not know about. She has told her son that these things are a waste. How does she expect her son to be a doer when she has blocked that path for him?

You can’t make excuses and complain about things that others are doing and still expect your kid to compete with the others. If you’re in a tower building contest and one person has fifty bricks and good quality cement, and you have five bricks and spit, how can you expect to compete?

When you have expectations of your child with regards to schooling, you have to make sure your expectations are reasonable. The main goal is helping your child reach their best life, no matter what path that is. Don’t expect your kid to be something they’re not. That’s only going to breed unhappiness.


28 thoughts on “Here’s My Expectation

  1. That mother is actively sabotaging her son. Now, she may not be intentionally doing so, but she is nonetheless. And you’re spot on, how will he learn if he’s not given the opportunity to try?
    My absolute favorite phrase of this post is “And we dont turn down opportunities in this house.”
    Amen to that!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly what’s she’s doing…sabotage? How can you expect something when your actions indicate the exact opposite? And she doesn’t even see it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Clearly, this mother wants her son to get a free ride without putting in the effort. I am always baffled by parents who have unrealistic expectations and wear blinders concerning their children. Trust me, as a teacher I saw it frequently. It explains why her son never went above and beyond.
    On the other hand, some parents are status crazy. I’ve never understood that. But then again, as a working mom I wasn’t involved in all that nonsense. I knew the best schools, but it was about which schools my children liked best. I put the responsibility on my children. I taught. them to set goals, know what they had to do to achieve those goals, and clearly explained what they needed to do to get to the finish line. That included academically and financially. As a single parent they both knew they needed to get academic scholarships and take advanced placement courses to get maximum scholarships and get into good schools. We discussed their options with the schools of their choice based on their goals. I had something called the Florida prepaid fund which I started paying into when they were little. However, if they wanted an out of state school they’d have to work for it since I couldn’t afford that kind of money and they’d have to get loans and multiple scholarships . Kids who know what they have to do to get where they want, put in the effort and make things happen. Plus, They look at several schools and then make their choices. But, parents also need to know their kids. And asks themselves if their goals are in line with their child’s. I was fortunate. Both my sons selected well, were accepted to all the schools they applied to, and then it became their decision. My oldest narrowed it down to two. One was triple the money and it made no sense to him (not to me) to graduate owing so much money when the other school offered him better scholarships in his field. (The more prestigious school offered him more money). He chose that school. ( I had no influence on his decision). My other son fell in love with one particular school and that wS that. It was the school that had the best film program. It turned out they both made good choices and graduated magna cum laude and didn’t owe student loans. Both have great jobs. I’m truly blessed. But, like you, LA, I was an involved parent and gave my children the tools they needed. You did the same. Your daughter will achieve success. I have no doubt!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can’t wear blinders to what your kid is actually doing/like. Accept them how they are (unless it’s dangerous) and help them grow! Though I will say…it’s easy to get caught up in it. My daughter was accepted into some fine schools, and it came down to two, and part of me was pushing fir the slightly more “prestigious” school, though rationally I know the one she chose is better for her

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Expectations are a trap. Even logical ones. I had no idea that’s how kids got into schools in Manhattan. It sounds like a confusing system, just waiting to upset any number of parents with expectations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh….it’s so much fun on high school acceptance day….especially if you didn’t place into any of your choices. Then it’s called round 2…..the morning you find out your fate all you care about is not going to round 2…. but yeah…technically expecting your kids to partner up, or have children appear logical, but the reality is they’re not.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Expectations are never what you think they should be. Both of my kids went to their top choice schools, but none were “sweatshirt” schools, except when my son did his graduate program, we looked long and hard at the top schools for his major and while he was going to have to take out loans, he knew that the degree would carry more weight because of the school and he would be paid better because of it. It was in the top 10 in the country for their program and he worked very hard while working and doing internships to maintain a very high GPA, then Lori Laughlin decided that her child needed to go to the same school and he is hoping that his hard earned degree from USC continues to be looked upon it favorably.
    School gives you what you put into it and if you don’t expect your kid to do the hard work you can’t expect much from his education.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My daughter and her best friend both got into schools effected by the scandal….I asked her how they both felt about it and they were pretty blasé…they figure cheating always goes on at highly ranked schools, and it was really a non issue because they knew they got it through hard work


  5. Somehow the phrase “competitive academics” makes me uneasy. I wanted my kids to learn for a love of learning, for a love of knowledge. Not so that they could out earn their friends and acquaintances. How sad for that young man, who did well, learned a lot, but didn’t make himself an anxious mess. He has to feel badly about his success……..?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His mother is just a twit. I mean, she’s not teaching him the right values or ideas. She’s not satisfied with he is as a person


  6. This whole academic process is completely foreign compared to my experience. As for expectations for children these days, there seems to be a huge gap. In some places, parents expect their children to get into “top” schools and get some grandiose job and paycheck when they graduate. In other places, it’s more about just getting into college, period, and do what you love. I hope that all the kids take life as it comes and resist unrealistic demands from their parents. I think their mental health may depend on it.

    Liked by 1 person

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