As a parent, sending your children off to college can be very hard. You have had them at home your entire life and now they are just going out into the world on their own. This can be a very emotional and overwhelming time as a parent because you are sad, but you need to be excited and help your child prepare. It is so important that you are involved in this process for your child but that you aren’t doing earthing for them.
It can be hard to know what you should be helping them with and what they should be doing on their own. You also might feel like you still want to help them and do everything for them while you can. It is a weird time in their lives for them and for you and they might be moody because they are just ready to be off to college. If you are struggling with how you should go about parenting during this stage of your child’s life, here are some tips.
Remember That They are Overwhelmed Too
It is important to remember that this is such an overwhelming and difficult time for your child. They are trying to figure out what they are doing for the rest of their lives and they are going to be on their own for the first time ever. Although they are excited and ready to leave, they are probably still scared, worried, and overwhelmed. If they are getting moody or frustrated easily, instead of getting angry maybe just ask about how they are feeling about this transition.
Overall it is just important that you understand that this is the biggest decision that they have had to make in their life so far. The feelings that you are having about them leaving are even stronger to them because they are the person who is actually leaving. Take advantage of the time that you have with them now instead of taking out your emotions on them. These are the last months that you will have them actually living with you other than breaks.
Start Helping Them Be Independent Before They Leave
If your child is not very independent, then you really need to make sure that you start making them do things on their own before they get to college. If your child gets to school and realizes that they can’t do anything on their own, everything is going to be even harder. They need to know how to do their own laundry, deal with money, and be able to successfully live on their own.
You may feel like you want to take advantage of the fact that you can still help them while they’re at home but babying them is only hurting them in the long run. Transitioning into college is already very emotional and hard. The last thing that your child needs is to realize that they are dependent upon everyone around them and can’t do anything on their own. It’s like ripping off the band-aid while they are already emotional.
Let Them Learn on Their Own
College is the time for your child to start becoming a real adult and learning how life actually works. If you are still doing everything you possibly can for them they aren’t ever going to learn anything or be independent. Let them make their own doctor’s appointments and pay for their own clothes.
They have to learn how to be adults at some point and if they constantly have someone doing everything for them, they are never going to learn how to do things themselves. This can be a hard thing to do, but in the end, it is what is best for them and they will thank you someday. Seeing how others have reacted to going to college, I am glad that my parents taught me how to be independent because it has really benefited me in the college environment.
Don’t Call Every day
Checking up on your child is definitely something that you want to do. You want them to know that they can still come to you with anything. However, calling them every day is going to make it even harder for both of you. You need to be there for them but also give them space. They need to figure themselves out and figure out who to live on their own without you.
This can be something hard to deal with, however, it will make it an easier transition for the both of you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send them a nice little text every day or call them to see how it’s going, it simply means that you shouldn’t be calling them every few hours or texting them all day every day. They are going to be living here on their own for four years, so they need to figure out how to be able to do that now or they never will.
Don’t Make Things Harder
This is an extremely hard time in your child’s life. They already have to make so many important decisions and the last thing that they need is you making things harder for them. Don’t yell at them about the decisions they are making or if they don’t receive a scholarship because they are doing the best that they can, and they are already overwhelmed. You should definitely remind them about deadlines and make sure that they are on top of all of their applications for schools and scholarships, but don’t get mad about things that are out of their control.
Most likely if they don’t receive a scholarship they wanted or get into their top school they are already going to be sure frustrated and sad. They can’t do anything about this now and they need to figure out what their next best option is, so don’t make this type of situation harder on them than it needs to be.
URL: College planning checklist every parent needs
Send Them Packages
Receiving packages is so exciting as a college student and it shows that you are still thinking about them. You don’t need to send them anything crazy or expensive. Sending them food or toiletries can make the biggest difference and make there day. Odds are that they don’t have a lot of money and getting little packages like that can really help.
Even sending them gift cards to the surrounding restaurants can make their way because they won’t have to eat campus food for a night. You don’t need to do this every week or anything but sending them a package once in a while is always a good idea and will make you both feel better. Don’t send them everything they will ever need though because you want them to start learning about the responsibly of buying their own things and taking care of themselves. Just a nice little surprise every few months or so is enough.
The First Semester is Always Hard
If your child is having a hard time the first semester, you need to understand that this is completely normal. Most students will tell you that the first semester of college is the hardest because you are still adjusting and figuring out how everything works. Some students even say that their worst grades are from the first semester of their freshman year. It is important to remind your child of this so that they know they are not alone.
If they are not liking the college though, it is important to remind them that transferring is completely normal and they will still find friends and succeed. Some students are too afraid to transfer and stay at a school where they aren’t happy.
Being happy where you are at is so important especially when you are paying so much money to be there. Sometimes students just need to realize that it is okay to admit if something isn’t working out. If they don’t like the school, they are out they can switch and if they do not like their major, they can switch. Admitting that you can’t do something or that you don’t like something can make your life so much more enjoyable and they need to realize that. If you med to be their voice of reason, then do so.
Overall this is such an overwhelming and emotional time for you and your child. It is important for you to be there for your child and help them through the process as much as you can. You want them to be independent, but you also want them to know that you are there for them. If they are paying for college on their own, try to help them understand the best way to deal with money and pay bills. Help them be independent. Don’t make things harder on them because they already have enough on their plate and all that will do is cause tension between you guys before they leave. Just enjoy your last few months with them and help them.