Editorial: Take control of your future

Graphic by Eugene Ko

It’s time to update your alarm systems and lock your doors. More and more Glenbrook North students are finding themselves victims of theft. The crime? Parents stealing their children’s opportunities to determine their own fates.

The recent college admissions bribery scandal revealed shocking allegations regarding families exploiting the system to help their children gain admission to some of the country’s most selective schools. But almost as troubling are the lengths to which parents are willing to go to ensure their children achieve success.

Snowplow parents are parents who push through any obstacles their children face so their students don’t encounter any hardships or failures. This parenting technique can start small with parents making excuses on behalf of their child for missed assignments and poor academic performance, but it can escalate to paying for college counselors and private tutors to curate perfect high school resumes. At its most extreme end, parents may shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to ensure their children can attend the most elite colleges. 

Whether it be sending strongly-worded emails to a coach who doesn’t give a student “deserved” playing time, charging into a teacher’s office to argue about a failing grade or scheduling weekly appointments with private college counselors, GBN is not immune to the effects of snowplow parents. 

When these parents take away all obstacles their children face, they also deprive students of the ability to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments while preventing them from learning to cope with failure. Having the opportunity to face difficulties helps young adults deal with the increasing pressures of high school and beyond. By robbing students of control over their futures, parents are sending the message to their children that they aren’t capable of achieving their goals on their own. 

Students at GBN aren’t completely innocent when it comes to parental intervention in their achievements. Parents sign their kids up for ACT prep classes and college counseling services, and students follow through without question. But when it gets to the point where students allow their parents to take over a school project or write their college application essays, a fine line is drawn between allowing parents to be supportive and letting them become snowplow parents. 

So students, do not let yourselves be robbed of opportunities to reap the rewards or suffer the losses associated with your efforts. Learning to deal with failure is a necessary part of life. From less than satisfactory test grades to failing a future  job interview, we’re all bound to face disappointment. At a certain point, our parents will no longer be able to protect us. The experience of overcoming these failures is far more valuable than being coddled into adulthood.