The New York Post has an article about the stress that parents are going through to get their kids into private schools
Panicked parents desperate to get their kindergarten-age kids into the toniest schools are so stressed out that they’re seeking counseling — psychiatric counseling — after they get out of admissions offices, top therapists told The Post.
Getting into the private institutions has become so cutthroat that wealthy moms are going to extremes to impress school officials — right down to fretting over whether they’re carrying the right Hermes purse on school tours, the therapists said.
Some shrinks say the stress is so great that parents threaten to uproot their families to escape it.
“It’s traumatizing. I hear parents say, ‘I just have to leave the city.’ I’m trying to help them stay grounded,” said Dr. Lisa Spiegel, a downtown therapist who runs the Soho Parenting center.
“Parents are eating, sleeping private-school admissions.”
In Spiegel’s sessions, parents spend most of their 90-minute slots talking about the process and their fear of failing their kids. She’s even advised some to keep their sanity by avoiding the more competitive mothers.
“Parenting is a competitive sport. We’re trying to provide parents respite from that,” she said.
Dana Haddad, a New York admissions consultant whom parents pay for advice in getting past school-admissions officials, says her clients treat her like a shrink.
“I spend a lot of time trying to put it in perspective and talk them off the ledge,” she said.
She revealed that one family was so nervous about school interviews that they asked her to pick out the tie for the dad — and that others ask whether their 3-year-old should wear a suit.
A single mother she consulted pretended to be a lesbian — to make her child’s application more unique.
And one pregnant client asked whether she should induce on Aug. 28 so her child could be considered for kindergarten before the Sept. 1 cutoff date.
“I end up being a psychiatrist as well as an admissions consultant,” Haddad said.
Other counselors say the stress of private-school admissions is tearing marriages apart.
One mother was horrified when her jittery husband made an off-color joke at a school tour — and then took it out on him during a session, one shrink admitted.
And Dr. Ella Lasky, a Manhattan psychologist who specializes in parenting issues, said one couple started seeing her for marital issues but spent many of their sessions fighting about applying to private schools.
“When it came time for their child to apply to private school for kindergarten, they were, like, ‘Why do I have to take off from work? Why can’t you take off?’ ”