Parents / Family Members

College is not just a time for growth and development for students, parents and family members often experience changing relationships with their son or daughter during the college years and often wonder how they can best show their support.  Below are some general areas of concern that many parents and family members have and some resources of how to address them.

 

Letting Go:

College is a time for students to learn, explore, grow, and make mistakes.  It is natural to worry, but letting your child make his or her own decisions is important during this stage of their life.  This means celebrating with them when they succeed and allowing them to feel hurt and disappointed when their decisions lead to negative outcomes.  When life is difficult, being supportive means to be available to talk about your student’s mistakes and to help him or her create their own solutions to attempt to fix them.  Do your best to avoid “rescuing” your son or daughter from difficult situations, as this does not foster self-sufficiency and independent decision making.     

 

When To Step In:

There may be times when stepping in and helping your son or daughter is important for their wellbeing.  Below are some common signs that your student may be experiencing distress:

  • Significant changes in eating, sleeping, grooming, spending, or other daily activities
  • Significant changes in performance or involvement in academics, sports, extracurricular or social activities
  • Acting unusually withdrawn, volatile, tearful, or odd
  • Acting out of character or differently than usual
  • Talking explicitly about hopelessness or suicide
  • Difficulty concentrating or carrying on normal conversation
  • Excessive dependence on others for company or support
  • Feeling out of control of emotions, thoughts, or behaviors

If you notice your son or daughter has been experiencing these signs of distress, suggesting that they come to the counseling center could be very influential.  The counseling center is a free resource for any currently enrolled UNCG student and making an appointment can be done by calling or showing up in person.

 

Clarifying Expectations:

You are going to have expectations for your student and they are going to have expectations of you.  Make sure that before the school year begins that you make time to speak with your son or daughter about financial obligations, grade expectations, when students will visit home, if your child will work while going to school, how often you will check-in over the phone / Skype, etc.  Being clear about what you and your student expect from one another can help to decrease unnecessary tension when your son or daughter becomes a college student.

 

Alcohol and Drug Use:

Alcohol and drug abuse is a problem on many college campuses.  Talk with your child about the potential dangers of alcohol or drug use prior to his or her departure for college.  Below are some resources on the negative outcomes of drinking and drug use in college:

https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/statistics/consequences.aspx

https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana-facts-parents-need-to-know/letter-to-parents

 

 

Additional Resources:

Below are a few additional books and websites that could be helpful when preparing for your son or daughter’s transition to college life.

Books:

When Your Kid Goes to College: a Parent’s Survival Guide by Carol Barkin

You’re on your own (But I’m here if you Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Helen E. Johnson

Been There, Should Have Done That II: More Tips for Making the Most of College by Suzette Tyler

She’s Leaving Home – Letting Go as a Daughter Goes to College by Connie Jones

Give Them Wings by Carol Kuykendall

Empty Nest, Full Heart: The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steerhouse

How to Survive and Thrive in an Empty Nest: Reclaiming Your Life When Your Children Have Grown by Jeanette C. Lauer

Almost Grown: Launching Your Child From High School to College by Patricia Pasick

Becoming a Wise Parent for Your Grown Child: How to Give Love and Support without Meddling by Betty Frain, Ph.D & Eileen M. Clegg

I’ll Miss You Too: An Off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students by Margo E. Woodacre Bane & Stephanie Bane

 

Websites:

http://www.sc.edu/fye/index.html

http://www.today.com/parents/when-college-kids-come-home-summer-2D80555340

http://www.uta.edu/disability/resources/parent.php

http://collegeparents.org/