Rejection Blues for NYC Private School Families

by Toby Glick on March 3, 2010

Toby GlickNow that the NYC private school acceptance and rejection letters have been mailed out, some parents are thrilled and relieved and some are sorely disappointed. The children may not know or care what school they’ll be attending, but they are also feeling the effects of their success or failure to get into the right school. While some children are basking in their parents’ approval, others no doubt feel that they have let their parents down. Parents need to be aware that children are highly sensitive to their parents’ moods and are listening even when they don’t seem to be.

In the pressure cooker of NYC private school admissions, it may seem that failing to be accepted to a top school will have a tremendously negative impact on a child’s future, but a child’s success is not written in stone at this age. What can have a damaging long term effect, however, is a child who feels that they are not good enough and can’t please their parents. Given their age, they may also feel that they are the cause of some other problems that the family is perhaps experiencing.

It is important for parents to be especially loving, accepting and encouraging at this time and to be alert to any unusual signs of stress in their children. If a child expresses any fears about their schools (don’t forget they’ve been coached, tested, interviewed) they should be reassured that they will go to a good school which they’ll love.

And they probably will love the school they go to. In addition, they may ultimately do even better academically than they would in a more selective school. There is a body of research called the Big Fish Little Pond Effect which has shown that bright children in very selective educational placements often have less academic self esteem and lower academic achievement than similar children in less competitive educational settings. In short, it’s better to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond than a Small Fish in a Big Pond.

About the Contributor: Toby Glick, Founder and President of ParentConfidante Special Needs Consulting, is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of families with special needs.

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