• Parenting Teenagers Through High School and Through College Admissions | Cindy Muchnick and Jenn Curtis | Episode 178

  • Parenting teenagers through college admissionsParenting teenagers is quite different from parenting toddlers and young children. We want our teens to have a successful academic journey, to be happy and healthy. Yet, many parenting practices prevent that. In fact, they can stress our teens out and push them toward anxiety. And in an effort to see our kids on the road to success, even well-intentioned parents are behaving badly and exacerbating the problems teens are facing. Cynthia Muchnick and Jenn Curtis know this. They are veteran education consultants, experts in the college admissions process, and mothers who provide a roadmap for parents during the pressure-laden teen years. Today they share their expertise with Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler.




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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    It’s not where your child goes to college but what they do while they’re there.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Parenting Teens Through High School and College Admissions:

    Quote about parenting teenagers through college admissionsThe original catalyst for Parenting Compass was the Varsity Blues scandal nearly two years ago.

    More and more kids today struggle with advocating for themselves, and as a result are often stressed, tired and burned out from their academic efforts.

    When parenting teenagers, parents’ choices and bad/poor parenting practices come from a place of fear and love.

    Parent Compass is a toolbox, to help parents through the teenage years and give them a chance to self-reflect and re-center, to analyze and correct their choices and priorities as they parent teenagers.

    Encouraging your teen’s self-advocacy skills helps enhance their sense of self-empowerment.

    We want our teens to be successful, but successful doesn’t mean taking every AP class, doing every extra-curricular, getting every award. Successful means they grow into their own person, develop their own internal compass, that they find and do what brings them joy.

    When our kids are younger, we tend to limit their pursuits to what’s safe and easily available. As they get older and start going more places and seeing more, they’re likely to stumble on things that make them happy outside of your personal experience or comfort zone. 

    How can we help our teens find and pursue their passion?

      • Kids may try things once or twice (like a sport, or an instrument) and then decide they don’t like it and don’t want to keep doing it. Even if you had a goal for them, for that pursuit—don’t force your kid to keep an interest that’s no longer interesting. They have time, let them explore
      • If their hobbies and passions don’t line up with yours (academics, community service, musical instruments, reading, computer coding/IT, etc.), don’t try to redirect them or push them towards something more comfortable for you 
      • Express interest in their interests. Ask them, how did you find that? How does that work/how do you go about doing that? How/why does that make you happy?
      • It’s important that you help nourish and facilitate their pursuits, not take them over

    One great way to engage with your teen in their passion or interest? Ask them to show you how to do it. Ask them to teach you; even if you’re terrible at it, it’s still connecting and communicating.

    Interests that parents can’t see going somewhere can still intrigue college admissions offices.

    Generally, college admissions want to know, what excites your teen? What experiences/hobbies/responsibilities challenged them to the best of their abilities? How have their interests/experiences helped them develop their leadership skills?

    College admissions advice:

      • Jenn – we know from research it’s not all about where your teen goes, but what they do while they’re there. It’s about the opportunities they’ll find and take advantage of, not about the college name itself  
      • Cindy – make sure your teen knows that who they are is enough. That you see what they do and enjoy and who they are authentically, as a person; that you appreciate them and support them and will keep supporting them wherever they end up


    The Parent Compass: Navigating Your Teen’s Wellness and Academic Journey in Today’s Competitive World by Cindy Muchnik and Jenn Curtis

    Utilizing Resources To Empower Your Teenager And College Student | Natalie Borrell And Alison Grant | Episode 48 

    How To Build Self-Confidence In Your Teenager | Dr. Melanie McNally | Episode 129 

    Raising Resilient Learners | Adina Glickman | Episode 174 

    Our Guests Jenn Curtis and Cindy. Muchnick:

    Cindy Muchnik and Jenn Curtis talk about parenting teenagers through college admissionsJenn Curtis, MSW, earned a BA from UCLA and MSW from USC and is an educational consultant and professional speaker. As owner of FutureWise Consulting, she has worked with hundreds of students on every aspect of the college admission process. She is particularly passionate about empowering teens to approach life with intention and educating parents about using their Parent Compass. 

    Cynthia Clumeck Muchnick, MA, is a graduate of Stanford University and has been working in education for the past 25+ years as a former Assistant Director of College Admission, high school teacher, educational consultant, and author of five other education-related books. She speaks professionally to parents, students, teachers, and businesses on topics such as study skills, the adolescent journey, college admission, and now the Parent Compass movement.

    To learn more or connect with our guests visit https://www.parentcompassbook.com/ 

    Our Sponsors: 

    Summer retreats with Inward Bound Mindfulness Education — iBme provides In-depth mindfulness programs for teens and young adults which help them learn awareness, compassion, concentration practices and deep listening skills. In-person and online events allow teens and young adults to learn and practice in a supportive environment. Multiple retreats and sessions include all inclusive events, events for people of color, queer/LGBTQIA+, in-person and online events. Check the schedule and register at iBme.com

    Stressed moms have a harder time being the parent they want to be. Get Sandy’s free video lesson and her Core Strategy Inventory to get real relief from stress at sandyfowler.com/stress-relief