When your child goes off to college, it’s an incredibly significant time in all of your lives. It’s their first time leaving home, and it’s the moment where you have to come to terms with the fact that they are finally an adult and not a kid anymore. Of course, just because they’re an adult doesn’t mean that you’re going to stop worrying about them. And that’s totally fine because college can be a tough time for any kid, some more than others. It can start to feel as though the pressure of it all is starting to get to them, even if they don’t want you to know about it. In order to help them get through this tough period in their life, here are a few things that you can do to help and support your child when they’re in college.
Offer emotional support
A kid’s first year at college can often be a pretty tough and lonely one. Sure, they’re going to make friends, and probably pretty quickly, but being away from home for the first time in a totally new place with the pressures of academia on their shoulders can be tough. Make sure that they know that you’re always only a phone call away if they need you. Knowing that there’s someone back home who’s there for them and is able to provide the kind of love and support that they really need can make a huge difference to how well they deal with those all-important early days at college where they could end up feeling as though they just want to pack it all in and come home. Sure, it might be tempting for you to tell them to run home into your arms so that you can take care of them, and so they never have to worry about anything again, but you and they both know that it’s best for them to be able to get through this time themselves, with you in their corner every step of the way.
Offer practical support
Of course, it’s not always the emotional side of things that leaves your child feeling overwhelmed. The difference between high school and college on an academic level can be pretty extreme. A lot of kids who really excelled at high school, skating by on good grades without having to even work that hard for them, are surprised at just how tough college can be. They’re suddenly expected to work in a self-motivated and independent way that high school very rarely prepares them for. One of the best ways that you can make sure that you’re supporting them academically and practically is by pointing them in the direction of things that can help them improve. Whether you’re directing them towards services like https://gradebuddy.com/ or working with them to figure out the best possible study strategies during the times when they’re actually home, being able to offer practical, concrete help to them can help to alleviate a great deal of the pressure that they’re very likely feeling at this moment.
Give them space
Of course, it’s possible to offer TOO much help. After all, college is a time when kids want to get away and start their own lives, free from parents and all of the restraints of their home towns. If you’re constantly hovering over your child’s head while they’re at college then there’s a good chance that you could end up becoming the cause of a lot of their stress. Make sure that you avoid becoming what’s called a “helicopter parent”. One who spends all of their time hovering over their child’s shoulder trying to dictate and direct everything that they do. Sure, they’re going to have moments where things get tough, but part of the college experience is being able to stand up for themselves and handle things without you coming to the rescue every single time. The best thing that you can do is to let them know that you’re always there if they need you and that they shouldn’t hesitate to ask, but if they don’t want your help, you need to be able to step back and give them the space that they really need.
It’s always tough when you see your child dealing with something difficult in life. But it’s important to remember that they are an independent adult now and it’s sometimes important just to be able to let them handle the things that are happening themselves, hard as it might be.
Disclosure: This is a contributed post.