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theschoolboards
03-11-2011, 11:12 AM
This from Kim Hamer of GetIntoPrivateSchool.com:

The hardest job I love (and hate) is parenting. Being a good parent is a constant practice in patience, understanding and forgiveness, not just for your children, but also for yourself.

So what happens when you open a non-accept letter or after you realize that your child will not be pulled off of the waitlist?

You grieve. Depending on who you are, any prior losses you have experienced and myriad other factors, your grief may last a few days or a few months. There is no set time for this process, although if it goes on for months there may be another underlying issue that needs your attention.

The reason for your grief is simple. If you're a mother of a preschooler, you are embarking into the second stage of parenting. This is the stage where you realize that no matter your intention, you cannot get everything you want for your child. It leaves many parents feeling powerless and angry.

From the moment our children are born, we do everything in our power to protect our kids, to give them what they need and what is safe. In essence, the first stage of parenting is all about experiencing our power in our ability to protect our children.

With a non-accept letter, parents learn that their ability to protect is limited. It is the first lesson of the second stage of parenting. All parents learn it, but if you go through the admissions process, you learn it sooner than most.

If you are a parent of middle school child, you are experiencing the second phase of the second stage of parenting while you watch your child deal with rejection.

So, there you are faced with the fact that a school said, "No," to your child and your family. It's not pretty. How do you handle it?

First, honor your loss. Your feelings are valid. You wanted and went after a school that you did not get. You lost and it hurts. Loss is loss is loss. So honor it, feel crappy and cry.

Second, do not hide your feelings from your child. Children can always sense something is wrong, and if you don't clarify what it is, they will think it is their fault. This is a great time for an education in handling emotions. You can say, "Mommy (or Daddy) is upset because I wanted to get you into a certain school and they said, 'No.'" What your child will see is you being upset and then later, you not being upset. They will learn that letdowns do not last forever. They will see how you move through disappointment. That lesson is an amazing gift to give to your child.

Third, if you have an older child, honor their grief. For most parents, myself included, this the most difficult part of parenting. Every time my children grieve for their father I think, "I can handle my husband's death, but why should my kids have to go through this?" The best thing you can do for your child is let them be upset and don't try to make it better. Let them cry, let them feel rejected, and let them be angry. Why? Because they will learn how to get past those feeling as well as learn how to bounce back. If there is one skill that is vital for a successful adult life, it's how to get up again after being knocked down.

And remember... this too shall pass. Every time I grieve Art, I take comfort in the fact that it will not last forever. I hope you will take comfort in that as well. Come October, the letters (and your emotions around them) will be a distant memory.

GetIntoPrivateSchool.com Simple Action Steps


Read Blessing of A Skinned Knee or Blessings of a B Minus by Wendy Mogul. These books put parenting into perspective.
Make a list of people who will be kind and supportive if you need them.
Pick something to do for yourself that will either celebrate your child getting in or will soothe the sting, like a 1˝-hour massage.


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Kim Hamer, The Private School Admissions Expert, is founder of the 7 Steps to Acceptance System™, the proven step-by-step program that shows you exactly how to get your child into private elementary, private middle or private high school. To get your F.R.E.E. 7 Steps to Getting Into Private School by e-mail and receive Kim's weekly admissions secrets articles on getting the private education you want for your child, visit www.GetIntoPrivateSchool.com (http://click.icptrack.com/icp/relay.php?r=85444218&msgid=1025784&act=2COF&c=376935&destination=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.getintoprivateschool. com%2F).