Tips for parents of college freshmen

September 5, 2010

-Talk about the transition - and the contradictory feelings your whole family may be feeling (excitement, sadness, anxiety).

-Be honest about how you're feeling, but also be encouraging. Express excitement about your child's future.

-Give advice, but only when requested. Consider responding with "What do you think?" or "How would you do it?" Don't be in a rush to problem-solve for your freshman.

-Unless there is a serious emergency, let your child find and use the many resources on campus that will help him or her solve those problems.

-Remember that emotions are particularly cranked up during times of transition. Cut each other some slack.

-Talk about how home will be the same, yet different - but don't be in a rush to take over your child's room immediately. Your freshman still needs to know he or she has a place at home, at least at first.

-Make definite plans to see one another and talk about those plans.

-Attend to the feelings of your other children.

-And remember: It's OK to let yourself feel miserable about your college student leaving home, for a while. Then remind yourself that your child is not responsible for your happiness.

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(Sources: Linda Bips, Muhlenberg College; Marshall Duke, Emory University)

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