What you can do to support your child as he or she begins college?
- Stay in touch with your son or daughter, but not too often. Let them know what has been going on at home and with old friends.
- Care packages and cards are always welcome (even if they don't thank you)!
- Be a good listener.
- Keep an open mind - your child is learning to be an independent person.
- Remember that ideas about choice of major may change... especially in their first year.
- Encourage your student to get involved in something outside of class and make use of support services on campus.
- Remember that your student will sometimes feel like an adult and will not want your guidance - and at other times may again turn to you for support and direction. Think of yourself as a stable home base.
- Gently but firmly set limits. It is usually not helpful for new students to return home every weekend or to talk on the phone with you for hours every day. Set up a reasonable schedule for phone calls and home visits.
- Remember that your dreams for your child may not be his or her dreams.
- Talk with your student about money management and academic goals.
- Understand that even very bright and hard working students sometimes struggle academically when they get to college.
- Remember that younger students are very concerned about fitting in socially.
- Talk about the use of alcohol and other drugs.
- Make the most of visits home - spend time together, do things together and talk openly about your changing relationship.
Important Internet Links for Parents
Dr. Jeffrey Arnette
In 2000, Dr. Arnette published his widely circulated artile that coined the term "Emerging Adults" to characterize the developmental stage typical of many of today's college aged students.
College Parents of America
A comprehensive one-stop-shop for guidence as you and your student travel to and through college.
Offers a mental health library, drug database, and self evaluation.
The Jed Foundation
Dedicated to reducing suicide and emotional distress in college students through programming for students, parents and campus professionals.
- College of the Overwhelmed: The Campus Mental Health Crisis and What to Do About It, by Richard D. Kadison and Theresa Foy DiGeronimo (2004)
- Don't Tell Me What To Do: Just Send Money, by Helen Johnson and Christine Schelhas-Miller, (2000).
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parent's Survival Guide, by Carol Barkin (1999).
- Letting Go: A Parents' Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger (1997).