Tips for parenting your new college student

Mother and college student

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) Life is full of awkward transitions, isn’t it? Awkward does not have to equate to ineffective, though. Here are some things to consider when sending your child off to college with confidence.

Accept your new role as CEO

As a parent in the home, you established expectations and provided consequences and rewards for your child’s choices. Many prompts and redirections were used to nudge your child back to center. These are all functions of a “manager.”

Your son or daughter still needs you. But now, you must trade in your manager hat for one that reads “CEO.” Effective CEOs are those who believe in their people and consult them. CEOs can be heard say things like, “I wonder what would happen if you tried this,” or “I can see you’ve thought that plan out well. Check in tomorrow and let me know how that goes.”

Wrap them up as you let them go

Your child needs to hear your heart. This is best done at home or early on moving day. The risk of saving this for the “goodbye” is that there is too much to say. Don’t shy away from discussing topics such as time management and the pitfalls of dorm life. But be sure to return to the central message of belief in your child and your love for them. Let them know that they have what it takes and that they are never alone.

Establish a supportive presence

Get off on the right foot. Always take your child to their college campus for the initial drop-off if at all possible. Bring tools and some spare cash. You never know what’s going to need to be fixed or replaced to make their new home functional.

Never underestimate the power of your presence. But allow your child to establish boundaries for where you belong in their day-to-day. Don’t worry. You STILL belong. But by allowing your child the ability to set parameters, you are empowering them to develop the assertiveness that will take them far in life.

>>> Learn more about how to establish boundaries and more parenting tips for the transition to college


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About Todd Lewis Monroe

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services

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