THE BLOG
10/15/2013 05:49 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Parents, Hold Your Breath and Let Your Child Breathe!

Become the ship's captain as you navigate the choppy waters of your child's college application process.

Your child is now a 12th grader. It's October.

"Oh noooo, you're behind schedule. You didn't take the SAT's last year. Did you register for the November exam? What about your letters of recommendation? Have you sent them out? Are you following up on them? We haven't even visited any colleges yet. I can't breathe. The sky's falling. I'm not going to live through this year. Where's my Xanax?"

Hopefully you just whispered all this to yourself and didn't alarm your 17-year-old. Everything in good time is a pleasant and relaxed model to live by.

Of course, you're a parent -- you have the right to worry all you want. If it makes you feel any better feel free to indulge yourself. However, fretting over the inevitable does not advance your cause, whereas modeling healthy behavior will work to your child's benefit.

I was being facetious in the title of this blog when I said "hold your breath." I wanted to grab your attention. I'm competing with a time and concentration factor. Both are limited.

I know if you read what I write for 60 seconds, you'll probably read this whole article... which I guarantee will make life a little easier at this stressful time. (Please note: this guarantee has no cash value.) But who can put a price on peace of mind?

Begin De-Stressing!

Instead of holding your breath, why not sit down, relax and be mindful as you slowly breathe in and out? Experience what is happening deep inside you, as well as externally in your immediate environment. "Live in the moment."

We hear a lot of talk about "mindfulness" these days. It's a great concept. Make some time to read up on it and you may well make it a lifelong practice.

Now let's get down to brass tacks.

Take a step back. Together, let's think things through a bit. Grab a pen or pencil and a pad of paper.

An Exercise That's Sure to Help!

In a few moments I'm going to ask you to try the following on your own and then with your spouse. Later, we'll include your 12th grader. Here's the exercise you'll be doing.

List everything that needs to be done as you and your child gear up and prepare for the great adventure of "The Pre-College Experience."

Don't over think. Simply free associate and write everything that comes to mind. If a glass of wine with a piece of Stilton or a Twinkie helps, indulge. Make this fun!

Right now it's stream of consciousness brainstorming. Whether your list has 2 items or 200 it doesn't matter. We're just identifying what's rooting around very close to the surface of your mind.

Stop Reading This Blog Right Now! Make Sure To Return Later

I'll bet you've never seen those words printed in an article. But my goal as a life coach is just what I stated above. I want you to de-stress. Do the exercise now and you'll get even more from this article when you return.

Okay... you're back. I hope you found the exercise helpful. Now here's even more assistance.

A great series of articles are available on the Internet listing deadlines and absolutely everything you need to know and do when applying to college. E-mail me at: hpbloggerdave@gmail.com. Put College Admissions in the subject. I'll send you the links... all filled with comprehensive information that will simplify your life.

These articles will allow you to take charge of the college application process. You'll find them totally empowering. The tenor of your home life for the coming school year will change dramatically.

As a life coach, I find one of the reasons parents get so frazzled is they' don't know all that's expected of them and their child. It creates a sort of free floating anxiety that can quickly degenerate into sheer bedlam, depression and more.

This may be the last year your child is living at home. Why not let it be filled with frolic and fun rather than fear and frustration?

If you've completed the exercise and requested the links, you have all the resources you need to prepare for the college application process at your fingertips.

You're finished for today. Forget about impending deadlines. Go out and have some fun. Relax, hit a movie, a spa, eat something unhealthy... for in 24 hours or so you'll be ready and armed to move forward expeditiously. All without stress!

In my next article we'll walk through setting goals and actions that will allow you the freedom to make the most of the time you share with your child.

We're in this together, you and I. You've taken the first and most important step.

Follow this blog and you'll be alerted when installment 2 of this article appears. It's temporarily titled... "Get the Ball Rolling." See you soon and have some fun!

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