Conflict and the College Admission Process

Listen, Listen, Listen: Practical Advice from Psychologist Michael Thompson on Motivating Juniors to Focus on College

Yesterday, psychologist and author Michael Thompson joined us to provide a window into the adolescent psyche and how that can affect the interactions between parent and teen as the college application process begins. Today, in Part 2 of Thompson's post, he has some excellent recommendations – and support – for parents so that they can put these insights into action and meaningfully advise their sons and daughters.


With all the developmental observations and warnings from my previous post in mind, here are eight suggestions for motivating your high school junior to focus on the college process. 

1) Start with yourself.  Before you approach your child, go to a friend whose child has gone through the process.  Choose someone who is reasonable and honest, who will explain what worked and who will also confess to mistakes.  If you have a parent/friend you respect to walk you through the process, it will arm you and calm you.

Run away! Run away! Michael Thompson on Monty Python and Motivating 11th Graders to Focus on College

Everywhere we speak across the country, we hear from families concerned about or in distress over 11th graders who are in avoidance/denial mode about the college application process. We asked psychologist Michael Thompson, author of The Pressured Child and Homesick and Happy, for his insight into the teenage psyche and his advice about putting those insights into action. Thompson has a talent for translating the science of psychology and anecdotal experience into vivid action items for parents. One of our favorites? Thompson's recounting of advice from a principal that illustrates the danger of becoming an expert on the process before your teenager does. ""If you get too far out in front of your troops," he said, "they may mistake you for the enemy." Join him here today, in part one of his two-part guest post, as he addresses how to have a meeting of the minds with your 11th grader and where Monty Python figures into the process.