She is a media partner Your teen media helps parents prepare their children for college. After noticing a lack of content specifically designed for parents of teens, founders Susan Borison and Stephanie Silverman decided to create Your Teen Media – a digital publication providing expert advice and non-judgmental support for parents. Plus, they host regular events and webinars where experts share tips and insights on college readiness.
Ahead, Susan Borison shares four mistakes she made when her kids started college and tips that can help parents avoid making them too.
4 Mistakes I Made When My Kids Started College
By Susan Borisson
Mistake #1 – Not starting early
When it came to college planning, we were cold. So cool we had no idea what to do. Maybe a little too cold. Apparently, all the other kids had already started doing campus tours. Our thrill suddenly turned to panic. Did we miss the memo — or all of the memos — on college planning? We quickly realized that we had made our first mistake, happily settling our children in college. We would soon realize that this was only the first of many mistakes.
Mistake #2 – Doing everything for you
We decided that my husband would take our daughter on her first tour and then I would take her to our alma mater. After the first tour, they called me to tell me everything. Most of the story focused on a mother who was an alumnus of the school. She spent the whole time talking to the tour guide to talk about her experience on campus.
The tone of the story underlined how boring this mother was. And I was so grateful for the call because I felt warned not to be that mom on the next school visit. There was just one problem: they had told me the story for a reason. Without saying it off the cuff, they hoped I would pass the message on to Not. To be. This. Mom. Ouch.
Mistake #3 – Don’t meddle in their social life
When I’d already sent four kids to college and was sending my fifth, you’d think I’d be done making mistakes. Nope. Dropping our last baby off at college, I was very, very sad. Twenty-nine years of daily parenthood were coming to an end. My son’s freshman room was set up but he was dragging his feet when we were ready to leave. I felt his loneliness, but I misread the solution. Another boy on his floor was alone in his room. I asked him his name, then I introduced him to my son.
But consider yourself warned: these two boys looked horrified. And I learned at the end of the first year that they never spoke to each other again the whole year. Ouch – my bad.
Mistake #4 – Do not skip responsibilities
In my defense, things keep changing in colleges. By my last two children, colleges and universities had begun to care about parents. While the children were at orientation, the parents were invited to parallel programs. I looked at the diary and I wanted to cry. I’ve never skipped a class in my life, but this time I wanted to. So I left. Before leaving, I had planned to have dinner with a mom I had just met. At dinner, I quickly realized that the good parents were staying for the programming. (The other mother alluded to this.) But worse, my children also interpreted my absence as a terrible mother. Ouch.
Mistakes are inevitable – or are they?
We should have known these errors were coming. After all, I made mistakes, but I also learned to understand things and to be a good parent. That’s why we created Your Teen Media in the first place, to help parents feel less alone and to share our ups and downs, and our tips and advice, with each other.
It’s also why we now offer our second annual parenting series called Destination College, which begins on March 8, 2022. This series is designed to helping parents navigate the college admissions process in an easy and affordable way. We hope parents can learn from our mistakes and get all the good advice, empathy and expertise we needed when sending our children to college. That way you might not have to make all the mistakes I made. But if so, call me and we’ll laugh about it together!
Sign up for the Destination College series
Susan Borison is editor and co-founder of Your teen media. She raised five children to adulthood, but she’s probably not done making parenting mistakes.