Blended families tend to be our most challenging clients.
But they can also be some of our best clients.
Children of divorced parents tend to avoid conflict when it comes to applying for college. How co-parents manage their relationships with their exes can have a tremendous impact on the child’s ability to forge their own path.
Although they may believe it’s helpful to avoid choices that may hurt the feelings of one parent or another, this can actually stunt a teenager’s ability to find their path to self-acceptance.
Conflict and mistakes are a part of life. Knowing when to “check yourself” and take a step back so that your teenager can flourish is crucial to their well-being. College planning should remain centered around your student. This week, I’m joined by Jayna Haney, founder of The Bridge Across for Single Parents and Stepfamilies, to share some tips to help blended families navigate the college application and transition process.
Tips for Blended Families Navigating College Planning & Application
Because this is such a big topic to which so many families relate, we have had experiences working with all types of families. And we at Bright Futures have developed tips for blended families navigating college planning and application.
Expect Conflict. Conflict appears in all areas of life. Your child needs to be able to voice their goals and needs. Instead of letting the kids disappear behind the conflict, it’s important to keep the central goal focused on supporting the student.
Be Specific In Divorce Decree.
Some of our best clients are divorced parents who thought ahead and got everything in writing. So there is no room for confusion or miscommunication. A student-centered written document and civil contractual divorce decree can limit conflict and create harmony.
If there’s a concern about budget, then have your student start small by attending a community college in the district, take dual credit and or Advanced Placement classes during high school, and transfer to an in-state public university. Listen for different financial options you may want to explore here.
Make Sure The Student Is Priority.
Every parent needs to have their own child’s best interest at heart. Many divorced parents want to come to every session with their Independent Educational Consultant (IEC) to talk about college. If they haven’t come to a mutual agreement to keep the focus on their teenager, tension can build. As that tension builds, the student fades away from the sessions.
For the blog version of this episode, click here.
- When tensions are high, talk through your fears and emotions. Help your child understand where you’re coming from.
- Keep the focus on your teenager when you’re talking about college. Remind all parties involved of that!
- Explore the Birkman Assessment here. For a very limited time, we are running a Birkman special – helping you give the gift of self-discovery this holiday season. Contact us to take advantage of this special.