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The Better Behavior Show with Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Oct 13, 2021

My guests this week are Cindy Muchnick and Jen Curtis. Here is a little bit about each of their backgrounds.
Cindy Muchnick is a graduate of Stanford University and has been working in education for the past 25 plus 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 business groups on topics around study skills, the adolescent journey, college admission, and now the Parents Compass Movement.

Jen Curtis earned a BA from UCLA and an MSW from USC and has been an educational consultant and professional speaker for the past 12 years. As the owner of FutureWise Consulting, she has worked with hundreds of students on every aspect of the college admission process. She's particularly passionate about empowering teens to approach life with intention and educating parents about navigating their parent compass.  

In this episode, we are talking about preparing kids for life beyond high school, particularly if they're thinking about college or some sort of post-secondary training. But even if they aren't, you are going to get a lot of great tips and ideas around how to support kids in this phase of life.

We’ll also be answering questions like how can we as parents best prepare our kids for education in life beyond high school? How can we help them strike the balance of realistic but also ambitious goals? And how can we manage ourselves and our feelings so that we're not pushing them into something that might not be the best path for them? Perhaps the most important message here is to start empowering your kids at a young age to speak for themselves, advocate for themselves and express their own individual interests. Learn more about Cindy and Jen here.

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Parents should STOP doing this …

  • Speak over their kids, answer for their kids, and not let their kids have their own opinions
    • This mostly happens unintentionally 
  • Going straight to administrators or teachers, before letting kids advocate for themselves
  • Protecting kids from feeling emotions, disappointments, failures
  • Putting your own interests and opinions for what they “should” be doing first 
  • Doing all the planning and organizing


Where parents have the opportunity to do better

  • You have the opportunity as the parent of a younger child to be aware of and think about how you want to nurture their independence and individuality
  • It’s not too late for any parent to start empowering their children, young adults or even grown adults
  • We have a lot of opportunities in the growing up years to put these things into practice with being aware of how much we're inserting ourselves, versus allowing our kids to have a voice, being aware of how much we might be rescuing in a way that isn't going to lead them well
  • When we don't focus on who the child uniquely is, often we're inserting our own biases into who we want them to be, and it really kind of can get in the way of us parenting authentically


Micromanaging your kids 

  • Two categories of older kids, young adults who experience micromanaging by their parents or caretaker
    • One is the category who don't need that, but the parents think they do and are doing it anyway, or the parents are doing it out of their own need to be needed 
    • Two is the category of young people where parents are continuing to insert themselves and do that because if they didn't, their young adult kids truly don't have the skills to manage and deal with many aspects of their life
  • Parents may need to step back and find ways outside of the higher education environment for their kids to develop life skills so that they can be successful there
    • Basic food skills like cooking, grocery shopping and nutrition
    • Basic financial skills
    • Basic laundry skills
    • Basic skills around organization and planning
    • Social awareness
    • Social skills


Alternatives to a 4yr. College

  • Community college
  • Workforce 
  • Gap years
  • Military
  • Internships
  • Research
  • Volunteer opportunities all over the world to find ways to give back. 
  • Immersive experiences to learn languages or to learn instruments
  • Give time to a religious cause
  • Apprenticeships for students who want to learn a skill like woodworking, hairstyling, or creative arts


Ways to show your child you believe in them

  • Let your kids advocate for their grades and even go speak to their teachers
  • Let your kids pay for things
  • Let your kids speak up about how they are feeling at the doctor
  • Let them take charge and make decisions when planning big life events like college or a trip, etc.
  • Let them talk first, let them self advocate first, and then you can fill in the blanks if need be
  • Give your kids the freedom to have their space
    • Have freedom to be creative on their own walls with what inspires them
    • Instilling in kids from early on that “You are capable, of course you can choose what you would want to put on your walls. I trust that you can have an opinion about that and figure that out.”
  • Show them we like who they are and we're trying to understand who they are, and to ask those questions that allow them to share their interests with us 


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