Parents, check out "Where is Your Daughter Applying to College?" -- an object lesson in how NOT to behave. Or perhaps some consolation for that conversation you yourself had last Tuesday. In any case, we hope you laugh along with us at the girl who "did everything herself" -- along with an SAT tutor, private guidance counselor, and time management consultant. Really, this thing doesn't miss one urban myth or opportunity for covert competitiveness. And we all know there are many such opportunities junior and senior year!
Seriously, parents, it's totally appropriate to share your feelings and concerns with your friends, but choose one or two close friends who know your son or daughter and have these conversations with them -- and politely excuse yourself when sidewalk talk becomes more confrontation than conversation. You can say, "You know, I just don't think talking about things like this is good for our kids. It really contributes to their anxiety." Or as Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bee Mom and Kingpin Dads, further suggests: "You can make a joke of it. 'Hey, c’mon, we’re really not going to be those parents, are we?' and then talk about something like your favorite restaurant. Have some backup conversation in mind, ready to go."