College scandal

college scandalThe college scandal.

News of parents who committed fraud to make sure their children got into the best college leaves most of us angry or scratching our heads. I sometimes hear from parents of estranged adult children who wonder if they might have done too much for their kids. They worry maybe they somehow created the selfish adult the child grew into. But my guess is most (if not all) weren’t talking about the level of “too much” that’s been in the news. Nothing like these parents whose enabling rose to the point of committing fraud or paying bribes. And what kinds of lessons are those parents teaching?

“How sharper than a serpent’s tooth to have a thankless child.” – Shakespeare

Are these parents buying their children’s love? Infantilizing their adult children? Blocking their sons or daughters from the benefit of valuable life lessons? Yes.

Yet, if they wouldn’t have been discovered, their lives would be going on as if nothing bad ever happened. They’d be chumming it up in family shots on red carpets, smiling in their designer clothes and bragging about their brilliant kids.

If nothing else, the college scandal proves something important: things aren’t always as they seem.

Parents of estranged adults, if you have been shrinking back in shame, don’t. Very often, things that seem too good to be true really are. There may always be people who wonder what you did to cause estrangement, but you can’t let them define who you are or reinvent the truth about your parenting. Besides, their thoughts probably only reflect their own fears. If it could happen to you, that means it could happen to them (and that’s a scary thought).

If you’re suffering from a self-esteem smackdown, fight back. Right now, consider all the good you did. Your intentions as a parent, any sacrifices you made, and all the joy, pride and love you put into the child who has now estranged.

Whether or not your hope is still in reconciling or you’re at the point where you’re done expending energy into what’s become a losing battle, seize the day for yourself now. It’s your life. What will you do with it?

Related reading:

What don’t you know?

The College admissions scandal and estate planning

Adult children won’t talk to you. What does it mean to cope?

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2 thoughts on “College scandal

  1. Essie

    My comment is not related to the college scandal. I came home to my empty house, except for my dog (!) and due to a husband that travels…. always looking in my son’s room for a sign that he came around. But nothing has changed and I don’t know if/when he will come back. I intentionally gravitated to the website and read the article on 5 things to do when you’re struggling with the grief. Always so helpful. Thanks so much for this unique and comforting community.

  2. dixie09

    Essie, I don’t know how long your son has been estranged or how old he is. But I do know it hurts and that hurt will never go away. You will simple learn how to live, not just cope with the hurt. I have been estranged from my adult son for three years, two ex wives and one new grandchild (I have never held, touched, or kissed) later. Don’t bother yourself with thinking about if or when your son will return to the mom that gave him life. Think about you and what you are going to do today to enjoy your blessings, then when tomorrow comes do the same thing all over again. Life does move beyond the hurt and grief. Find things you love to do and people you love to be with. Spend your time making life grand for you, your husband and your fur baby. Find other people or organizations that you can give your loving support to, there are so many people that just need a smile or a warm hug to get them through the day. One person’s trash is another’s treasure. You are treasured!


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