Sending your child to college is a big step that comes with many mixed emotions. It’s
an exciting time, but there can also be some apprehension for the whole family. Many
parents wonder how to best support their students as everyone adjusts to this new
normal. We’ve put together a list of tips that many help as you support your student
in this new phase, along with answers to some of the questions parents commonly ask.
We’ve also included a list of resources that are available to your student to help
How To Support Your Student
- Don’t try to solve their problems for them. Direct them to the appropriate channel
and let them go from there.
- Remember that no news is good news. Along those lines, try not to panic when your
student calls and tells you that the world is falling apart. Refer to tip #1 and remind
yourself that they often only call home when things are going wrong. While you are
at home worrying yourself sick about what happened with your student and their roommate
yesterday, they most likely have already worked through it and are out getting pizza
together as we speak.
- It’s often hard to know when to step in if your child is struggling. Don’t be afraid
to ask the tough questions about their overall wellness. If you notice a drastic change
in your student’s mood or personality, it may be time to seek professional help.
- Encourage them to stay on campus on the weekends, particularly for the first few months.
They can’t adjust and meet new people if they go home at every chance.
- Care packages are always welcome. We’ve never seen a college student turn down mom’s
signature cookies. Bonus points if you send enough for them to share with their roommates!
- Talk about expectations. How often and by what means will you communicate? What will
the rules be when they are home on break? How involved will you be in their academics?
Keep in mind that this is a time of growth and the (sometimes painful) process of
becoming an adult. They need to have room to explore and figure out who they are.
You’ve taught them well. Now trust them to use all those life skills. You’ll be surprised
at how much they really heard during those years when all they did was roll their
eyes and say, “FINE!”.
- Teach them about the chain of command when they have a concern, and encourage them
to use it. For example, if they have a problem with a teacher, they should approach
that teacher first. If the problem isn’t resolved, they should go to the department
chair, then dean, then higher up in administration. Most complaints can be solved
directly with the teacher or department chair, and you’re teaching them the valuable
skill of conflict resolution.
- Encourage your student to get help early in the semester if they are struggling. Professors
are always willing to provide extra help to students or point them to the right resources,
but they aren’t magicians. If your student waits until the last few weeks of the semester
to seek help, it will probably be too late.
Health and Wellness Resources