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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Letting Go of Your College Freshman

Walking a fine line between interest and intrusion? The last two weeks have marked the transition of college students leaving their homes and moving to college campuses across the country. For many parents this is the first exposure to “letting go” not only psychologically but also physically. It is the time for many of us to learn to guide and support our sons and daughters from a distance.

Recently journalists have focused on some of the concerns parents of college students--and most specifically freshmen. Are there are notable trends?

· Parents frustration about their inability to gain access to information from colleges. (Note the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of l974)

· Colleges are keeping parents in touch with newsletters, sending newspapers to parent’s residences, trying to get them involved in college events, setting up web sites for commonly asked questions and answers.

We have talked about tips of getting ready for sending your son or daughter to college-- now that they are on campus any suggestions for parents?

· Help your child with problem solving (now is the time to use key phrases like “it sounds like you have some concerns, what are you going to do about it” “What ideas do you have to address this problem?” “Perhaps you should try working on it for a few days and if you can’t find a solution we could talk about it in a couple of days”
· State your concerns (it is important that you be honest and tell your child your concerns, whether it is about their lack of studying, or concerns with them drinking or partying. It is important to make a point without lecturing and state your concerns openly.
· Don’t overburden with your emotions (the transition is difficult for them also-- it is important to find someone to discuss your feelings with and let them know you care, but not that you can’t survive without them
· Take advantage of e-mail (what a wonderful way to dialogue with your child. You can both connect when you find free time and it is much cheaper than phone service, and of course, much faster than snail-mail)
· Find a time to connect (but for those of us who love hearing our child’s voice it is great to find a mutually agreeable night for calls. Many parents typically use Sunday nights as check-in nights)


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