Stop Despairing and Strike a Deal

Wendy Lutter and collegebound son Tate

By Wendy Lutter, guest blogger

The countdown clock is ticking away. It is getting closer and closer to the time we will take our first born to college.  We are all going through an array of emotions from excited to sad, to savoring the “this is the last fill in the blank,” to being annoyed with each other and ready to have D-Day be here.

Amidst all our preparations, there has been a constant – at least daily – barrage of emails, texts, Facebook posts and tweets about articles describing the anticipatory grief of sending your kid to college. Based on some of these stories, one would think they are saying goodbye to their child forever, that all communication will be lost, as well as the end of any sort of relationship with their child.

I have been struck by the desperate tone of some of the articles. In one in particular, the mom tried everything to get her son to talk on the phone for more than one minute. She brought up an injury that the dog had, just to get a few more seconds of airtime. Parents want more information, details, stories.  But their kids don’t want to spend the time or energy to share.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I’ve learned from doing market research for the High Low Glitter team that you can strike a deal with college-aged kids: “You do High Low Glitter twice a week and I won’t call or text you.”  The High Low Glitter questions are specific, so the end results are a much deeper, more intimate snapshot instead of the hollow response to “How is it going?” Good.

When my son went away for three weeks to a college summer program, we tested it out. I was thrilled with the little snippets that he shared, like the glitter about the banana story:

HLG

I think this story might have been lost all together had we not HLG’ed.

So when the countdown says zero and we say our goodbyes, I am going to not feel despair. I will eagerly await the inbox message telling me that my son has posted a new High Low Glitter. I look forward to HLG being a helpful tool in the new, exciting, (and I’m sure sometimes painful) uncharted territory of the next steps of our relationship.

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wendy-lutter-marketingWendy Lutter is a qualitative market researcher and the principal of Lutter Marketing. She has conducted research with High Low Glitter users on numerous occasions. Wendy lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband and two teen-aged children (although it will be only one two-weeks from now when her son heads off to college.)

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