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Parent Information Frequently Asked Questions

1

What advice do you have for a parent that is having trouble letting go?
You can still worry, but try and let your child make their own decision which means letting them suffer their own consequences.  It will be hard to watch if you think s/he is making a bad choice, but allowing him/her to tall will help teach him/her how to make good choices.  The next time, the choice will probably be a better one.  Make sure you are there to support your child through the failure.  That doesn’t mean bail him/her out, but help them do whatever it takes for her/him to help him/herself out of whatever mess s/he has gotten into.

Other Tips: 

  • Accept your feelings as appropriate and allow yourself to grieve if you feel like it.
  • Add something new into your life - establish new or renew old friendships, find some hobbies, set some new goals for yourself. Focus the extra time you have on yourself.
  • Find support for yourself.  Your partner, friends, or others going through the same experience may be good resources.
  • Indulge yourself a bit – you deserve it! It’s time for you now.
  • Be proud of yourself for helping your son or daughter get to this exciting new place in their life.  You’ve given them what they need to prepare for this next step.

What can I do to help my son/daughter who is having trouble adjusting to college?
For your son or daughter, college will likely be a period of intellectual stimulation and growth, career exploration and development, increased autonomy, self-exploration and discovery, and social involvement.  During this period, your children may forge new identities or seek to clarify their values and beliefs.  This may require an examination of self, friends, and family.  It may also be a time for exploration and experimentation, and a period in which your children may question or challenge the values you hold dear.  The changes your son or daughter may experience can occur quickly, as they begin to develop new peer relationships, gain competence in new areas, and learn to manage their independence.  It is important to recognize that every child will experience his or her own unique set of challenges and adjustments.  Just as every parent will have different expectations for and reactions to their child’s college experience.

Some dos and don’ts:
Do talk to them about it as much as possible.
Don’t belittle how s/her are feeling.
Do try to get to the root of the problem-roommate issues, workload is too hard, missing boy/girlfriend, doesn’t “fit in,” etc…
Don’t let him/her come home often – it will take them out of the school routine making it harder for her/him to be there during the week.
Do encourage him/her to get involved in activities.                          
Do (if at all possible) plan a visit (either you there or him/her home) in about a month – it will give her/him something to look forward to.
Do encourage him/her to seek help on campus, an RA, counselor, favorite professor, etc.
If after a full semester, your child is still miserable, a transfer may be in order.  Consider all your options!

How can I help my son/daughter avoid getting in trouble with alcohol on campus?
Alcohol abuse is a real and pressing problem on college campuses all over the country.  Parents may sometimes feel out of touch with their student’s social habits in high school, an issue which is heightened when the student takes off for the no parents/no curfews environment of college.  To avoid future tragedies, parents must talk to their students prior to their departure for college about the potential danger of alcohol abuse.  The following websites, some of which are geared towards students, have useful information and facts that parents can use to prepare themselves for the necessary conversation about the pressures of college drinking:

  • Be Responsible About Drinking [B.R.A.D.]
  • What Parents need to Know about College Drinking
  • Hidden Consequences of College Drinking
  • College Drinking Prevention
  • Alcohol, Other Drugs, and College: A Parents’ Guide
  • Marijuana:  Facts Parents need to Know

What can my son/daughter expect to experience throughout the year?
A YEAR AT COLLEGE: Heads Up for Parents
Along with the thrill of learning and the euphoria of young adulthood, college brings challenges.  The typical college year has cycles of ups and downs in the level of challenge and stress experienced by students.  Below is an outline of an academic year, emphasizing some common problem areas identified by the University's Student Affairs personnel?  Stress issues vary according to the individual, time of year, and classification of the student.  The more aware that parents are of the tides of the semester, the more they can do to normalize their student’s experiences and help them through them.