Bribery Parenting

This whole college admissions scandal is no surprise. Rich parents have been doing things for their kids forever. Yes, it was unfair for people who should have gotten into those schools and didn’t because someone cheated. I hope those people who didn’t get in went on to other good schools and are probably just as successful, but that is no excuse.

The people I feel really terrible for are the kids whose parents did this “for” them, sometimes without their knowledge. Now those kids are learning that their parents had no confidence in their abilities. I wonder how many of those parents would have done this if they would have had to look their kids in the eye before paying the bribe and say, “I don’t think you are good enough to get into UCLA, or USC, or YouNameIItSchool, so I will pay someone off to make sure you get in, before we even know if you could have gotten in on your own merit.”

I think that the worse thing you can do is push your child to go someplace they might have trouble succeeding. Now that is not to say that if you get in off the wait list you are not qualified. I believe many kids who get rejected from wonderful schools could also flourish there, but when admissions is making up a class they might have already had too many flute players who also are interested in a Chemistry. Building a class is a big puzzle for admissions, but bribery is not the way most of them go about doing it.

I sent Carter this text yesterday, with the spelling mistake and all. She laughed, knowing I was too cheep to pay for her to get into college. I was already paying for college and that was enough. At least she knows that everything she accomplishes is due to her own hard work. That is the skill you want to develop in your kid. The other skill these bribery parents stole from their children is that of resilience. Not getting into your “dream” college has great benefits too. Learning that you can be happy many places is a much more useful tool.

I hope this case is a lesson for parents of all stages of parenting. Stop doing everything and let your kids stand on their own two feet, wherever those feet take them.



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