Resources for Parents
Transition Tips for Parents of New Students
Your son or daughter is preparing to leave for college or maybe he/she has recently left. You drive back home with an empty spot in the car and arrive to an empty bed in the house. What can you expect? You will undoubtedly be filled with very confusing emotions. You are excited, scared, sad, and shocked! Are they ready to set their own schedules, will they get enough sleep and will they eat healthy foods? At first, probably not! This doesn’t mean that they will not learn. What you are feeling is normal and expected. The following are a few suggestions that might help make this transition period easier.
- Trust your student: You raised them and they were accepted at Truman State University because of their hard work and dedication. Trust that your student will remember the lessons you taught them.
- Get comfortable giving up some control: You will no longer be able to set curfews, check out friends or fix daily meals. This will be hard to get used to. Give your student space and respect their need for independence. As confident as they seem, they are as scared as you. If you support and listen to them, they will come to you when they need help.
- Realize that your student is scared and confused: Respect their need to explore themselves. Do not laugh at new ideas or stifle new found creativity. They are developing their adult role and need freedom to try on many hats.
- Expect some homesickness and stress: If they call you crying and miserable, do not immediately drive to campus and bring them home. Help them by listening and pointing them in the right direction. Helping them succeed and make it through the first year will give them an unbelievable sense of accomplishment. They can do it on their own. In order for them to believe this you must believe it first.
- Know the signs of more serious issues: Sometimes first year students can become depressed. Has your student stopped going to class? Is he/she isolating him/herself? Has his/her diet changed? Is he/she sleeping all the time? Is your student acting hopeless or has your student lost all motivation to succeed? These can be warning signs of a more serious situation. Talk to your student, listen to them and contact University Counseling Services for more advice.
- Encourage your student to get involved in organizations and activities on campus:Academics are important but finding a healthy balance is necessary for success.
- Prepare your student for ups and downs: College can be hard and overwhelming. Do not set them up to feel like they failed if they are struggling.
It can be a challenge letting your student go and allowing him/her to make mistakes. Watching them change into an independent adult is scary. Remember that their roots are strong and they will prosper if you give them freedom, time, space and support to grow.
- Almost Grown: Launching Your Child from High School to College by Andrea Van Steerhouse
- Becoming a Wise Parent for Your Grown Child: How to Give Love and Support Without Meddling by Betty Frain, PhD and Eileen M. Clegg
- Been There, Should’ve Done That II: More Tips for Making the Most of College by Suzette Tyler
- Don’t Tell Me What to Do, Just Send Money: The Essential Parenting Guide to the College Years by Helen E. Johnson & Christine Schelhas-Miller
- Empty Nest, Full Heart:The Journey from Home to College by Andrea Van Steerhouse
- Give Them Wings by Carol Kuykendall
- How to Survive and Thrive in an Empty Nest: Reclaiming Your Life When Your Children Have Grown by Jeanette C Lauer
- I’ll Miss You Too: An off-to-College Guide for Parents and Students by Margo E. Woodacre Bane & Stephanie Bane
- Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understand the College Years, Fifth Edition by Karen Levine Coburn & Madge Lawrence Treeger
- She’s Leaving Home – Letting Go as a Daughter Goes to College by Connie Jones
- When Your Kid Goes to College: A Parents Survival Guide by Carol Barkin
- You’re on your own (But I’m Here if You Need Me): Mentoring Your Child During the College Years by Marjorie Savage
- When It Comes to Curbing Drinking, College Students Do Listen (Time magazine)