As you adjust to the new role of being a college parent, helping your child transition is a big part of it. Managing the academic road, adjusting to life from home, and working part-time while trying to make friends is overwhelming for anyone. Going to college is an exciting and positive change, but it can also bring out insecurities, stress, and anxiety. Being there to help will help your child have a smooth transition and navigate any bumps on the road. As much as your teenagers keep saying they can’t wait to move out, going to college will be a little tricky in the beginning than they anticipated. Having gone through different transitions as a parent, you are in a position to help in every way you can.
1. Don’t Hover
You have to resist the temptation of hovering around your kid at all times. It can be challenging, especially with this age of social media and constant messaging, but you have to try. You have to allow them to find their path in the new environment. Some of the common issues college freshmen faces are roommate conflicts, high expectations, and finding their way in the greater diversity on campus. You should try giving them a chance to handle such things independently. However, that doesn’t mean you should not show support. Be present to listen when they come to you with these issues and offer advice and support. You should only interfere when you feel things are getting out of hand; other than that, you should avoid helicopter parenting.
2. Support Their Career Discovery
Career development is the main reason your child is going to college in the first place. Chances are they may not have training or guidance to help them choose the best career. Not knowing which major to choose can be very stressful to them. If they end up doing something they are not passionate about or are wrong for them, college would not have served its purpose. To ensure they transition smoothly and start developing their career as soon as possible, invest in a career development coach. It’s never too early for your college student to recognize her interests, aptitudes, and talents. The sooner they do, the sooner they will choose their major, classes and apply to suitable internships. It will also help them settle in school much faster and start focusing on their studies.
3. Send Care Packages
Once you find the best student housing in Tempe, be prepared to send care packages every once in a while. Most first-year college students experience homesickness a lot; receiving a special treat from home will go a long way to show them they are loved and cared for. You can slip in some encouraging words and their favorite snacks or meals if they are close to home. They will remember these special gestures, especially when they are going through a tough time. You have to understand you are still their biggest support system. It will take a while to establish a friendship circle and form genuine relationships they can rely on for support. During the transition, care packages encourage your child and give them some positive vibes.
4. Be Open to Talk
Stress is part of going to college; as you know, your child is juggling many things at once. Be ready to listen and talk whenever you need to. Its jour job to constantly encourage them and tell them how strong they are. If your child can’t reach you when they feel stressed, they will find other ways to ease their anxiety, and it may not always be healthy. You are their biggest cheerleader, and that may even go on after transition. You should learn to recognize the risks. Depression, substance abuse, loneliness, and suicide are real issues facing college students. If you suspect any problems, find ways you can help and make college a positive experience. Anticipate mood swings and cold phone calls because they will happen at one point. Try to be patient and understanding because being frustrated will only make the transition harder.
Your child leaving for college will be a unique experience for both of you. But you have to ensure the process is favorable for your child during the transition. Be supportive, patient, and encouraging every time you get a chance to connect. As much as you want to control every situation, you can’t. So keep a safe distance and allow your child to thrive and overcome obstacles. Encourage them to be resourceful and understand that there will be bumps on the road.