Pushing Kids To Success: When Is it Too Much?

Date: 06/30/2023

Title: Is your teen struggling with the pressure to get into a "good" college?

00:00:00 Speaker 1
It. Is your teenager struggling under the pressure of getting into a good college? Well, let's
talk about that today on Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint. I'm a licensed marriage and family
therapist, and I specialize in helping kids, teens, and families live happier lives. I lead
two organizations teen Therapy Center and the nonprofit Ivo One C. Three organization child
and Teen Counseling, both here in Woodland Hills, California. Every Wednesday at noon, I jump
onto Facebook Live to answer your parenting questions. Let's answer today's. My daughter
is really stressed out about getting into a so called good school for college. She probably
won't make it into a UC her freshman year. I think she's feeling a lot of pressure and expectation
about it since a lot of her friends will be, how do I support her and how do I know if I'm contributing
to the stress she feels? Thank you for your question. I think a lot of parents of juniors and seniors
right now are really feeling this pressure,

00:01:03 Speaker 1
especially those of you who are going through college apps right now. And what I would really
recommend to you is this pressure is so manufactured and getting into a good college, most people
can't even identify what a good college is. And the reason is because what a good college is for
student A may not be for student B. Now, there are prestigious schools, the ones who play football
on Saturday mornings, and the big Ritzy colleges, and they're wonderful and nice and amazingly
expensive, but they don't really correlate to how successful you're going to be. There are
plenty of people I've met who've gone to very Ritzy colleges and not been very successful. I've
also met many people who've gone to coommunity college and then a state school and been very successful.
So it really depends on how you do college, and a lot of that is dependent on how you feel about
yourself. Does your daughter have self worth? Does she believe in herself? Does she feel good
about herself? Is she enjoying her life?

00:02:01 Speaker 1
Getting grades does not equate to happiness. In fact, I've met a lot of kids who are so under that
pressure to get the 4.5 GPA and have the amazing college resume, and they're miserable because
they're just working day and night with no sense of purpose except I must achieve and I can't
be perfect, which nobody is. The story I love to tell about a former client of mine. I saw him throughout
junior high school, middle school and high school, on and off, and he hated school. He really
hated school. And he says, I don't care about school. I just need to get C's. I'm just going to
graduate. I'm not going to college. I'm going to be a grease monkey. I'm going to fix and build
motorcycles. That's what I want to do. And that's what he did. He finished high school barely
getting by the skin of his teeth, went to a vocational trade school, a really great one he was
really excited to go to for a year. He was learning about how to build and create motorcycles.
And within that year he says, I hate

00:03:00 Speaker 1
this. I hate having dirty fingers. I hate talking to other uneducated people. I want to go get
a college degree. I want to wear a suit and tie to work. And that's what he did. He went to community
college, did very well, went to a state school, did well again, got into the workforce. Last
I heard, he was doing his MBA at a very prestigious school and he's doing wonderfully and didn't
really matter how he did in high school. So what I would encourage you to do is focus on what helps
your daughter feel connected to herself and connected to her world in a positive way. What sense
of mastery does she have in this world? Doesn't really matter what college you go to. Doesn't
matter if you go to a UC, a state school, an Ivy League community college, especially community
college, no one cares where you did English one on one at. It's just English 101. It's the same
everywhere you go. It's where you get your degree at. And is that a fit for you? Are you studying
something that is interesting to

00:03:56 Speaker 1
you? If you need to take a year off to figure it out, take a year off. I know a lot of people say, oh,
but Gap, they never go back to school. If they never go back, it's because they never want to go
anyway. People go to college because they want to go to college. No one forces someone go to college.
If they do, whether they're successful or not is really not a great strategy. The strategy of
success is doing something you have to do. So I encourage you to pull back the stress and not let
college be a pair of designer jeans or a fancy car. It's an education. It's a means to an end to
get somewhere you want to go. If she knows she wants to study, whatever, go to a college where
she can study that. It may be a small liberal arts college where she gets more one on one, hands
on experience with the professors instead of going to a big UC school where you're taught by
in a big auditorium with 300 of the students or the small classes where they're taught by grad
students anyway. So pull back

00:04:54 Speaker 1
the stress, pull back the pressure. Let your daughter know you accept her no matter what and
help her plan for what does she want to do? Does she want to just go to the community college and
just take it easy? And if she does find ways for her to get involved in community in the college
life. One of the cool things about going off to college and being in a dorm is you get to be in college
life, but she may not be ready for that either. So there's a lot of options for your daughter.
Talk with her about what works for her. What does she want? Not what her friends want. Not what
do her friends parents want, not what her teachers want. What does she want? And pursue that.
Anyway, that's our question for today. Again. My name is Kent Tussant with Mrs Tips on Teens
everyone's day at noon. If you'd like me to answer your question, email us at tips on teens@teentherapycenter.com,
or you can direct message us right here on Facebook. We love your questions. Again, my name is
Kent Toussaint with teen

00:05:49 Speaker 1
therapycenter and child and teen counseling, and I'll see you next Wednesday at noon. Bye.

The Definition of Success

Are you pushing your teen too hard to be a “success?” We all want our kids to succeed in life and be happy. But how do we define success? If your kid excels at a sport or academically, it can be alluring to do everything you can to see that to its fullest potential. But if your teen isn’t feeling the joy of what got them on that path initially, then maybe it’s time to redefine “success.”

The Cost of Happiness

When parents force teens to stick with a sport or some other pursuit that they no longer feel driven to pursue it can be very overwhelming. Often teens in this situation resort to unhealthy means to cope with the despair such as drugs, unsafe sex, violence, etc. In the long run, not attending that Ivy League school and making less money but being happier is worth it! We recommend you talk to your kid about what makes them happy. What do they want to pursue? What gives them a sense of purpose? There’s more to say on the topic, and we’re high achievers in this Tips on Teens video:

“My daughter is a high achieving athlete. She’s a junior and two colleges are already scouting her. It looks like she could get a full time ride but she says she isn’t interested. She could potentially be throwing a full time scholarship away. I get that it’s stressful but I wish she would understand the importance of what she’s doing and the doors it could open for her. She’s a good student, but tennis is going to give her better opportunities. How do I know if I’m pushing too hard?”

Clinical Director Kent Toussaint answers your parenting questions every Wednesday at 12:00pm in our weekly segment Tips On Teens on Facebook Live. Have questions about parenting kids and teens? Send them to: TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com. We love to hear from you!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.