The College Admission Scam Is Proof That Parents Can Hurt Their Kids
What Operation Varsity Blues reveals is the unchecked power parents have over their children — and that’s a problem
Olivia Jade Giannulli, 19, the daughter of actor Lori Loughlin and designer Mossimo Giannulli, isn’t talking to her parents. It’s not unusual for teens to be pissed off at their parents, but hers is a special case. Olivia Jade was a popular and successful YouTuber and beauty influencer with nearly 2 million views on her online videos when her parents got caught up in the college admission scam, and now she’s lost partnerships with TRESemme and Sephora.
[Olivia] was passionate about her career, and now everything she built has imploded before her eyes,” someone who supposedly knows the family told Us Weekly. “She feels they ruined everything.”
Olivia Jade wasn’t interested in going to college, or at least her “I’m just here to party” video — made before the scam was revealed but that went viral after (and that she later apologized for) — seemed to indicate. But it mattered to her parents, neither of whom went to college, and so she felt pressured to go.
A lot of young people nowadays seem to be living a life that their parents want for them, not necessarily the lives they might choose for themselves. I can understand the parental anxiety — it’s an economically insecure world. Along with climate change, increasing inequality, racism, the rise of white supremacy, etc., etc. — all of us just want to know that our kids are going to be OK.
Still, economic insecurity wasn’t the problem for Olivia Jade or the other teens whose parents were willing to lie, cheat and bribe their way into getting their kids into top-tier universities — those kids grew up in wealth and privilege. They were going to do fine no matter what.
What the college admission scandal reveals is the unchecked power parents have over their children. And maybe that’s the real problem.
Because kids are suffering for it.
How much parental damage is OK?
OK, parents always do some sort of damage to kids — this is why we have shrinks and, as a parent myself, I feel a certain obligation to keep the next generation of therapists gainfully employed. I’m sure my kids could — and most likely will — give them an earful.
But how much damage should parents be allowed to do to their kids And why are they allowed to?
Some have suggested that parents should be licensed to make sure would-be moms and dads know what they’re doing; others say parenting should be a collective endeavor as a way to expose children to a variety of viewpoints — socioeconomic, political, ethnic, religious — and as a way to pull back the veil of the much-lauded nuclear family.
Some parents are truly horrific, subjecting their children to sexual, physical or emotional abuse. But even in so-called “normal” families, children can’t escape some sort of dysfunction — whether they’re being raised by a parent who is depressed, adulterous, emotionally cold, smothering, absent, angry, passive-aggressive, narcissistic, addicted … I could go on.
And if your parents decide that you need to go to a university — the “right” one, mind you, not just any university even if it’s a better fit — because it strokes their ego, well, you’re screwed.
Parents’ moral compass
There was an interesting Twitter exchange when Rebecca Traister, who wrote about how mothers and fathers are perceived differently on the campaign trial, was scolded for somehow not acknowledging that parents “are given a moral compass when they have children. Because evolution.”
Popping out kids doesn’t give anyone any sort of superpower or moral compass. It just means you’re a parent. Congrats! Now, deal.
“To be honest, I’m not worried about the moral issue here,” one father in the college admission scandal is disturbingly recorded as saying.
So much for parental moral compass, evolution be damned.
Parents will rarely straight-out tell their kids how hard, complicated and often conflicted being a parent is for them; after all, kids don’t demand to be born. Unfortunately, kids somehow end up knowing it, and paying for it, anyway.
Hopefully, it doesn’t screw up their life forever.
Originally published at http://omgchronicles.vickilarson.com