In order to help you deal with your child being away from home, there are a few things that I would like to share with you. The following is a list of things that “Every parent should know”: (As taken from the University Parent Page from the University of Minnesota)
- When your child calls with a problem, they are not asking you to solve it, just listen to their dilemma. Avoid “How did this happen” or “How could you?” Instead, encourage them to consider alternatives and think about the right thing to do.
- Your child is well prepared. You did a good job. Don’t expect them to handle things as you would. The dazed look on their face is not the result of failing to know what to do; it’s the result of struggling with how to communicate with you without triggering any response.
- Growth requires making mistakes. We have to let them make mistakes. A big part of college is making choices, even wrong ones, and then recovering from them.
- In most cases, when something happens, parents don’t find out until after the fact. This is good experience; they made a mistake, suffered the repercussions, but…then solved the problem themselves. Growth occurs…we laugh about it together after the fact.
- Your student is not leaving you. They are just going off to school, they will be coming home from time to time, and they are still a part of your family.
- Try to avoid making changes that make it look like you’re continuing your family life without them.
- Let your student try to do things on their own. Every time they call and say that they need money, let them try to figure out how to manage. It’s the only way that they will learn to be independent and responsible—after all, they are now mini-adults.
- Sending your first child off to college is not as heartbreaking as you expect it to be. With the ease of communication, be it e-mail, or free nights and weekend cell phone minutes, you might find you have more real conversations with them while they’re away at school than you did before they left!
- Don’t be surprised if you don’t see much of them the first time they come home.
- Your college freshman is scared.
- Your kids still need your love and concern, but the way we express it might need to change.
- Know your child’s roommates, campus friends, and class schedule if possible. Not for snooping, but for better understanding of your child’s world.
- Be flexible, this means an urgent mid-day call about where to find shoelaces or some such item, and then a last minute cancellation on dinner when they are home to visit. It gets better. Slowly.
Within the coming weeks, we will be posting things that every parent should HAVE! Until then, don’t miss your students too much, and just keep in contact with them!
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 870-235-4012.
Dr. Donna Y. Allen
Vice President for Student Affairs
Used with permission from University of Minnesota.