sororityRemember the old joke about the kid whose parents had to tie a t-bone steak around his neck so the dog would play with him? Suddenly it doesn't seem so funny. Because I just found out there are parents who actually pay big money for sorority prep training classes so their college-bound kids will be ready for rush week. And I do mean big money -- a two-week training course can set you back $8,000 (or you can opt for a "cheap" $50 one-shot session).

It's like these parents are telling their kids, "Sorry, we don't actually believe you have a charming personality. We're going to pay for you to take classes so someone will like you!"

To be honest, I have never understood the attraction to Greek life to begin with. I know people who swear their frat brothers or sorority sisters changed their lives, and maybe they have. But isn't that the point of friends, any friend?

In fact, the point of finding a friend is supposed to be about finding someone you can be your true self around, not some superficial version of you crafted during a two-week prep course.

The lesson these parents impart when they shell out cash for training for rush week is counter to everything we tell our kids as they grow up. "Be yourself," we tell them. "If they can't like you for you, they're not worth it."

Instead these courses tell kids, "You're not worth it ... at least not the way you are. Come on, let's improve you! Forget unique, let's make you just like everybody else!"

The people behind these Greek prep courses are selling these as "life skills," the kind of lessons that will help your kid get internships and jobs down the line. Of course a parent wants to shell out cash for something like that!

But let's get real here: there's a big difference between learning how to "give good interview" and learning how to impress a bunch of people who are going to see you do a kegstand in a few weeks. And what happens when the facade drops, when their real personality is revealed, and the superficial jerks don't really "like" them? So much for lifelong friendships ...

I can't see this flying at any other stage. Can you imagine hiring someone to teach your kid to make over their personality for the first day of high school? You'd say it was nuts ... and yet, this is the same thing.

If you want your kids to make friends when they're teenagers, take a page out of the book you were using the day you sent them off for kindergarten: "Be kind, say hi, introduce yourself ... and above all, be you."

What message do you think this sends teenagers? Would you ever hire a tutor to help your kid be more likable?