How do other parents separate themselves for child's mistakes?

<p>I have done my best to leave my D alone through applications, etc. In a few cases this resulted in "technical problems" with applications that were submitted online not timely arriving. Fortunately, she was not alone in this, and all of the schools allowed her to resubmit. I explained to her the importance of getting and keeping a comfirmation of all things done online. </p>

<p>A week or so ago, on the day before it was due, she finally submitted her housing materials to the school she will be attending. The application required almost no information unless the student desired one of the "living communities," which my D did. She wrote a nice essay and submitted the materials. On Friday, we received a postcard that her housing materials were never received. She swears she had a confirmation screen, which she saved on her computer desktop. However, when clicking on that page, it only takes you to a sign in page. The living community was one of things that most excited her about this particular university. I am sick over this mistake, while she is acting (pretending?) that it is no big deal. Not only will she likely not get in that program but she will get whatever dorm is least desirable. I hate to ask (or have her ask) the school for special consideration as it will potentially deprive some other worthy student of a spot. Is this just a "life lesson" in which she will have to accept the consequences of her own mistake? I hate the thought of the unhappy calls I may receive next Fall.</p>

<p>As I read your post, I felt a little sick inside. I can far too easily imagine how you are feeling. I think this is one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. I do believe our kids have FAR too many responsibilities and commitments & honestly, I would have trouble keeping everything straight. They are still too young to understand how quickly time goes by.</p>

<p>I think this is an instance where you should encourage her to call. She should fess up to the error - and maybe the call won't help - but it is important enough to give it a try. Groveling isn't a bad lesson either!</p>

<p>Hope all is straightened out.</p>

<p>^^agreeing, and I'd say chill on applying the moral significance to all of this. I'm still making mistakes in my life and having to phone and try to see if I can get some grace. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't, but I never sit on my hands and not ask for the grace, because I need to teach myself a lesson. And I'm no slacker; I hold myself to very high standards, just sometimes I slip up on deadlines or paperwork, still. I've suffered enough consequences to improve on it, but I'm still not perfect.
She'll have so many more opportunities to figure it out. Housing is important. There is NO harm to call, or have her call, and plead mercy. Since she actually sent the materials, then it is a mistake. For all you know, the college made the mistake on the receiving end, or their handling, etc...
You know, of course, she's pretending it's no big deal because she's upset with herself and more worried about your upset with her. Her only defense is to pretend it doesn't matter to her.
Unless it really doesn't matter to her. In late h.s. (not college) I sometimes would encourage my kids to call (second best situation). They did it themselves usually. But if they declined, I'd then say, "if you can't call would you be okay if I called?" (third best situation). What I was doing was testing how much it meant to them; if they didn't care at all, they'd tell me not to call and I didn't. But if they said, "Yes" it meant they wanted it fixed but were overwhelmed to talk to adults to fix it, so then I would, but only with their permission.
What's the first best situation? That they didn't screw up in the first place!
Which seems to come over time, and isn't all tidily fixed up before they enter college. They still screwed up occasionally in college, but simply got better and better handling it on their own. I never, not once, intervened in college, but was still doing mop-up as they entered, as you're contemplating.
Getting all the paperwork moves down is a process and it's not over yet.
Good luck. Others on CC are tougher than I am, always writing in for kids to take the consequences of each and every mistake.
I'm softer than that, I guess, but I think there's time ahead for her to keep improving.
As for taking a spot from a worthy student, well, they're all just as worthy as she is ; to me, that comment is too self-effacing. Iwouldn't feel guilty to try to recoup a mistake.</p>

<p>If your daughter is "sure" she submitted the material she should call the school's housing office and see if they can locate her information. If she remembers the day she submitted it is possible the school can find it by date and/or time. Most colleges are overwhelmed with all the forms they received; many are not entered into the database or are entered incorrectly. If this housing is important to your daughter she will make the call on Monday and see if she can make some progress.</p>

<p>Was there any type of credit card deposit made for housing at the same time? Anything that your daughter can prove that she submitted the material on that day? Help your daughter brain storm with what to say to the housing office and who to speak to, but let her make the call. I have learned the hard way to let my kids do these kind of things alone, but I still offer suggestions-even when they aren't wanted!!</p>

<p>I agree a call by D is in order. If she truly did submit it, then she can insist that she submitted it and describe the detail of the application and of the essay she wrote for the living community that she desired. It cannot hurt. If she is familiar with the ins and outs of the application, and her essay, they will realize she had to have completed it. If they cannot locate the materials, there could have been an error in submission, a "time out" on the site etc. But that is not her fault. She can begin to learn the process of sticking up for herself, and politely "not taking no for an answer." The worst that can happen is they say no. And it will not be as scary as she though. If they say yes, she will remember the call, and the process, and will, no doubt, have to do it again at some point. It is so worth a call. Try to give her a push, and stay about from any blame.</p>

<p>btw, I just saw a movie this weekend, "Georgia Rule" with Jane Fonda, Felicity Huffman, Lindsay Lohan, playing a grandma, ma, and daughter. Their mistakes had much higher stakes! One subplot involves the daughter improperly filing her college housing application materials. It's a very, very serious movie, involving family dysfunctions that include sexual molestation (discussion only, no graphic displays), so be prepared if you decide to see it. Given the cast, I expected something light-hearted. But it did wrestle with the question you raised in your OP. Maybe wait to see it AFTER you resolve your immediate situation!!</p>

<p>Thanks for all your advice. Ironically, it turns out to be my "life lesson." When my D and I jointly called the housing office we learned that the school, not my D, had made the mistake. Postcards were sent out before all the applications had been processed. Hers had timely arrived and was in the system. My D and I were both relieved but she is angry that I jumped to the conclusion that she had screwed up. She is right, of course.</p>

<p>oops - all you can do is say sorry. Then if she is anything like my kids she will bring it up again for years (my son still brings up something I misjudged him for when he was 3 - he is 20 now!!) Glad it worked out ok though. We are probably all in for a few of these 'life lessons' now that our kids are growing up and flying the nest.</p>

<p>The first thing I thought of when reading this thread was "a saved bookmark won't retain the personal data" -- so that it was entirely possible that she saved the screen with her data and confirmation, but the bookmark with its data couldn't be refreshed after X period of time and so it disappeared. Then I got to the end and saw the school had made the error. </p>

<p>There's still a life lesson: PRINT IT OUT. Even if the merchant/school/agency says it's going to send me a confirmation email for a transaction, I still print out the screen online before I do anything else. It has saved my tail on more than one occasion!</p>


<p>You are right about saving personal data. I know it and now my D does, too. There are just so many things for them to learn and so little time left for us to impart all of our learned wisdom. I guess she will have to learn as we will did--through a few mistakes of our own.</p>

<p>Ironic! as I was reading the posts- I thought "uh-oh, that is exactly what my son would do (in fact he has had computer sent/not sent issues already)." I made a mental note to check the calendar to see when his housing form is due. Kicked myself for not teaching him well enough to keep his own calendar current, ect. </p>

<p>Then-- I got down to the end to find out that it was not the child's error and that it was school and 'parental- jumping -to -conclusion' error... That made my stomach clench- I have done that many times, (usually it is the son's error, so I am also quick to assume he 'did it again').</p>

<p>Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone, and I'm glad it worked out.</p>

<p>So here's a bookend experience to read about. I hadn't heard from my D for more than a week, and we're practically packing for her college graduation. It just felt odd. So I called out to her. In the phone call, my D revealed to me with great anguish that she was in the midst of an academic screwup all her own, so serious it could have compromised her college graduation in a few days. It took my breath away; I thought, "all this time and she is STILL making a slipup like this??" (missed deadline on a paper, and if the prof wouldn't take it, she'd fail the class and not graduate, she'd be ONE CREDIT SHORT, have to fake-walk across the stage and take a community college class..OMG, I could not believe this was happening.</p>

<p>I'd just recently read your thread, which at that point hadn't yet resolved. Still, I was thinking about you, so with that in mind, I took a deep breath on the phone and told her to do her best to resolve it. It felt hard, physically, to say it. It felt like a letting go, and it was hard to do. To NOT get upset at her. But what good would that do? Besides, she needed her energy to do the paper and chase the prof, not fight with me over my disappointment and worry. </p>

<p>When she phoned back two days later, she had indeed repaired it all. She is now truly ready to graduate. The professor was completely at ease with taking her paper late, and she realized she had worked herself into a tizzy over nothing. </p>

<p>She phoned out to tell us, walking away from the professor's door, how excited she is to actually have her entire four year degree COMPLETE now. She never sounded happier in all her life. Then her tone changed to something different, kind of nurturing, thanking me for not reacting to her on the previous phone call. She said how thankful she was for my response, and that she understood how hard it must have been to not get upset, since in her mind it deserved upset and I'd have been "justified" to be upset with her.</p>

<p>I thought, I think I"M really graduating here from something! Why has it taken me four whole years to figure this lesson out: She can fix up her own stuff. Come to think of it, mostly she's doing it now all the time and I don't know about it. Only the fact that I called out to her, first time, interrupting her flow of solving the problem. Without that, I'd have never been the wiser.</p>

<p>It was a turning point experience for us, but I share it only that you see this is at the END of the four years of college. And to thank you, OP, for the openness of your thread. It's all a big process and it takes time for your D, as well as you, to cope with all of this autonomy gracefully. Tell your D that, in a way, you both will be growing in new ways in the next four years. It'll give her hope that maybe you'll improve over time!!:)</p>

<p>oh my gosh reading all these posts makes me realise how much growing up I, as a Mom, have to do, the letting go, not getting upset, not - er - butting in. Not sure I'm quite ready for this but I realise I need to really try!!!</p>

<p>I'm reading this thread wondering what to do about DS's housing problem. He's a college freshman. I found out last week - thanks to CC that sophmores usually live off campus at his school (I'd thought he'd just stay in the same hovse and not have to worry about housing for next year). But I learned that there was a housing lottery back in April. I emailed him asking what he was doing next year and got a reply just this weekend saying "housing lottery? I was busy". I called immediatelly and asked him to contact the housing office and find out what to do about housing for next year and told him I wanted a report back on Monday as to what his options were. Well, its Tuesday morning and no word from him. I am so tempted to call the housing office myself and find out. But I'm going to send him an email and follow up and see what happens. I know from their website that housing contracts are due Friday for next year so he's got to figure this out. It is so hard to let go and not try to fix everything for him.</p>

<p>I agree that you can't fix everything, but if he will be spending more of YOUR MONEY to live off campus, you have a point about wanting to know. If, due to his distractions, he missed out on on-campus housing, and off campus means more in expenses, time for him to be working this summer. Once he has to realize the consequences of being too busy, he will remember the importance of deadlines.</p>

<p>I would let him bear the brunt of this one. Otherwise, there will be no motivation to take a different approach the next time. He needs to sweat a little about where he is going to live next year. Hard for you to let him, or to wait yourself to know. But I would let it go and let him figure it out, at least for now.</p>

<p>We have tried to let the kids take on a lot of responsibility for their own screw ups. I'll never forget, one time my son forgot something at the Pee Wee football practice. (some football pants or something), he was in 6th grade at the time. We made him call the coach to see if the coach had picked it up and thrown it in his car, or if the pants were left there. </p>

<p>After giving DS some talking points, he dialed the phone and asked his coach if he found his pants...and was half sobbing from fear, or embarrassment, or other such 11 year old anxieties, he finished off the conversation in nearly a full out blubbering cry by thanking his coach. Dear wife and I were practically in tears ourselves as we watched him struggle....But he got through it. He's 18 now and can get through most of any situation on his own (although sometimes we still provide him with some thought starters or talking points). </p>

<p>If it is something that I think should be handled lets say... experienced adult to experienced adult, or needs to have some additional authority behind it I will offer to pitch in, but he can actually handle most things. Oddly, I still hear from some of his friends Mom's and Dad's who handle trivial matters for their children. I'd rather talk to the kids (young adults now.) in MOST situations</p>