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Are you a Bulldozer Parent?  Stop Removing all the Obstacles


We have all chuckled at the helicopter parent hovering over their precious child, anxious for the “A”, to be the top scorer, or to win the trophy. But there is a new parenting style on the rise: The Bulldozer Parent doesn’t necessarily want their child to win, al la “Tiger Mom,” nor does she push them to be the best by overseeing lessons and practice. No, this parent wants their child to always be happy and pushes away every obstacle that impedes such happiness. It sounds loving, but if a child does not overcome obstacles or encounter failure, they build no resilience and self reliance to get back up when they are knocked down.


Remember parents, you don’t go to college with your child: they will encounter challenges and obstacles every day. Now more than ever, social media is driving our children’s self identity, worth and choices, but at the same time it is impeding them knowing who they are and what really matters to them without continual feedback.

Bulldozer Children don’t conceptualize their own free will. Lack of understanding of their choices impedes intellectual and personal curiosity. At the same time, social media, gaming and other online pursuits is a time suck. While previous generations filled teenage free time interacting with friends, our kids are staring at a screen. It is important that your child can do, not just watch. Will your child set and actively pursue personal goals without ongoing social validation?


Essential College Coaches advises that it’s natural to hover, but fight the urge to bulldoze or overly guide your child’s choices. Consciously work to give them more choice as they grow and mature. Let them fail and work with them to understand a better strategy for next time. This will provide them with manageable amounts of stress, giving your child ever improving coping strategies. You can “vaccinate” your child psychologically so they can respond in an adaptive manner when faced with larger stressors.


Following our approach will help your child learn adaptive coping to build failure-tolerance and resilience while their brains are young and most receptive. Figuring out for themselves how to meet increasingly difficult challenges will build self-confidence and encourage goal setting. The key to finding the right choice of college is to know oneself. Your child will be a savvy college consumer who understands that choice is important and that their college match may be very different than that of their friends. The goal for our students is Right College Choice, and parents can support this outcome by working to develop a self-reliant, independent and introspective child.

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