Wednesday’s Parent: These Tactics Won’t Spur Action


college prep actionI tell so many people I work best under pressure. It’s not an excuse; it’s a fact. As you can imagine though, it’s stressful. Chasing deadlines may work when you’re self-employed, but it’s not a habit you want your college-bound teen to adopt. Every teen, unfortunately, procrastinates. It’s a part of their nature; and the college prep process on top of other life activities lends itself to procrastination.

Knowing that all teens (and some parents) procrastinate, what should you avoid when trying to motivate them to action during the college prep process.

Don’t be a bad example

We all know that our kids mirror us and our actions. If you college-bound teen sees you putting things off, procrastinating on tasks, and ignoring things that need to be done, why should they take action themselves? If you want you teen to tackle tasks as they become available and submit applications and forms before the deadline, model that behavior.

Don’t be a nag

Nagging never works with a teenager (and rarely works with a spouse). At some point they learn to tune you out. By the time they become teenagers all they hear is “blah, blah, blah”.

Don’t do it for them

Many parents get so tired of begging and nagging, that they opt to do it themselves. They complete the applications, write the essays, answer emails and take care of all the college related tasks. Yes, it happens; and colleges know when a parent is “helping” with the process.

Don’t lay on the guilt

Every parent uses the guilt tactic. Guilt will do more damage than motivate. If your teen begins to feel that they can never please you, it affects their self esteem. And they will stop trying because they feel whatever they do it’s not enough to please you.

Don’t jam it down their throat

There is a fine line between helping and encouraging and forcing your teen to do things. If your teen is not exhibiting any interest in test prep, college searches, scholarship searches and applications, perhaps there is a reason that needs to be addressed. Forcing them to write an essay will not produce a successful result. Making them apply to college when they don’t want to go will only cause bigger problems in the future.

You know your teen and you know what motivates them. Don’t use these tactics that rarely produce effective results.

Conversely, read Wendy’s blog on what you CAN do to motivate them to action.


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2 Responses to “Wednesday’s Parent: These Tactics Won’t Spur Action”

  1. […] out Suzanne’s blog for how NOT to motivate college prep […]