6 Parental Tips for Helping Your Child Adjust to College Life ​

by Dusty Rhodes on Aug 26, 2020  in 
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College is a unique stage in a young person’s life. On one hand they are anxious for independence but on the other they might feel nervous about being away from the comforts of home. Add to that the pressures of classwork and the desire to meet new people and this can be an extremely emotional time. While it’s normal for young adults to struggle with this major transition, there are things parents can do to make the process a little easier. If you have a child preparing to head off to college this fall, consider these tips for helping them adjust to college life.


1. Listen to Them and Reassure Them They Will Be Fine

It’s important that we give our kids a chance to talk about their feelings and let them know we understand. We shouldn’t deny their feelings, but rather validate them by recognizing that these emotions and feelings are real. At the same time, let them know that you are confident they will succeed and reassure them that they are prepared to take on this new challenge. Let them know that it’s normal to be nervous and apprehensive, but reassure them that they have all the skills needed to succeed in college.


2. Don’t Hover

There is no doubt that it’s scary for a parent to leave their child at college for the first time. However, it’s important to let your kids know that you believe in them. As tempting as it may be, avoid constantly calling, texting, emailing, Facebook messaging, or any other type of communication. Let your child contact you when they need to and give them space to navigate this new world on their own.


3. Teach Them Important Skills

It’s your responsibility as a parent to equip your child with the skills needed to be a successful adult. This includes teaching them important life skills such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and budgeting. A newly free college student can quickly blow through their allotted expenses and will soon find out that clothes don’t clean themselves, so teach them these skills before they head off to college.


4. Encourage Healthy Behaviors

College stress is a given but this can be managed through healthy behaviors like exercise, healthy eating, and getting plenty of sleep. If your child is struggling, encourage them to take care of themselves and look for healthy ways to relieve stress such as yoga, jogging, or another stress-relieving activity. Also, encourage them to talk about how they are feeling and let them know you are always there to listen.


5. Don’t Bail Them Out

Young adults need to learn how to navigate life on their own and that their actions have consequences. However, this can’t happen if a parent jumps in every time things get tough. If your child runs out of money the first week, they will learn quickly they need to manage it better. If they fail a class, they will understand that they need to work harder. It’s important to let your child experience the results and consequences of their behavior and avoid stepping in to save the day.


6. Be There When They Need You

There will come a time when your child misses the comfort of a home-cooked meal or just needs a reassuring voice from a parent. Let your child know that you are there for them and let them come to you when they need it. This doesn’t mean bailing them out of every situation, but just reminding them that no matter how far away they are, you are always there for them.


Dusty Rhodes