How You Can Help Your College Students
- College may be the first time that you and your young adult have been separated. Remember that your student is taking you with him/her. Though he/she may not admit it to you, he/she will quote things you’ve said-and recount things you’ve shown him/her. Remember to allow your student to be independent, and most of all, remind yourself that it’s natural that you and your student feel nervous and excited.
- Offer support to your young adult. Be there to listen, talk and reassure him/her. Encourage your student to turn to you in good times and bad. Stay steady even when your student is shaky. You can provide a familiar and safe haven, an anchor in a new and unfamiliar sea, a place for solace and encouragement and admiration. Be continually loving, supportive, and caring.
- You still have a very important role in keeping your young adult safe and healthy, especially around alcohol and other drugs. Remind them they don’t have to drink to have fun. Ask about their social life, not just academics. If you do suspect a problem, get help immediately.
- Trust that your student can make his/her own decisions and allow him/her to solve problems alone.
- Mistakes, when they are made, are often necessary motivators for learning and change. Let your young adult experience the natural consequences of his/her “mistakes.”
- Affirm confidence in student potential.
- Shortly before your young adult goes away to college, he/she may need extra time with friends. Allow him/her space, but make sure he/she knows you are always available when needed.
- Eliminate major controversial discussions.
- Young people often need encouragement to seek the help they need. Learn about resources at the college your young adult is attending and encourage your student to look into support services if necessary. Support your student’s emerging independence by helping him/her to take action on his/her own behalf.
- Deans, instructors and faculty advisors can provide advice on academic matters.
- Residence Hall Directors (RDs), Assistant Residence Hall Directors (ARDs), and Community Advisors (CAs) are trained to help students who live in campus housing.
- Encourage your student to know where the university Health Services and Counseling Center are located. Knowing where these resources are located can be reassuring to students and parents.
(A compilation of material taken from various resources, including Channing L. Bete Co.; “Letting Go: A Parents’ Guide to Understanding the College Years” by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger; “Helping Your First-Year College Student Succeed” by Richard H. Mullendore and Cathie Hatch; other universities; and the staff of the Plymouth State University Counseling and Human Relations Center)
For more information or consultation:
Call us at (603) 535-2461