If your pride and joy has started their varsity or college journey this year, you’re possibly finding it hard to let go… especially if they are living in student accommodation away from home. The good news is that amidst all of these changes, one thing is sure to remain the same – your young adult will need mom and dad’s support as much as ever before!
In an effort to help guide you through the upcoming years, here are the 5 rules for parenting a university student.
Rule #1: Don’t ask them if they’re homesick
Most students don’t even realise that they are homesick until their parents ask them this question in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel better – and this can put a damper on your child’s entire experience. During those first few phone calls, try to be as happy and as positive as possible (even if you are struggling to deal with the changes). In doing so, you’ll both win as your child will be likely to communicate with you more often, especially when he or she needs a bit of a boost.
Rule #2: Don’t fight change
If you notice a difference in your child’s manner, style or accent, embrace it rather than fight it. Most people truly ‘find themselves’ when they are studying at university and, as a parent, it can be a beautiful thing to witness if you are strong enough to quell the fear of losing your little boy / girl.
Just remember, if the change is drastic and seemingly negative, it might be cause for concern. You can learn more about what to do in this instance by reading our blog entitled “Is Your Child Using Drugs?”.
Rule #3: Don’t ask too many questions
It is important to show an interest in your child’s university experience, but don’t pry too much. He or she will appreciate your respect for his / her privacy and will be likely to open up more as a result.
Rule #4: Visit
If you have the time and the means to do so, pay your child a visit (after organising with them first, of course), or encourage them to come home for a while when they have some time off. Seeing each other in the flesh will work wonders when it comes to boosting morale – for both child and parents!
Rule #5: Trust
Unless your child has given you a reason not to, do your best to trust them. Yes, they are going to make mistakes along the way… but that goes with the territory and is how they learn to become well-functioning adults once they leave varsity and enter the working world. By all means, offer your advice (if it is requested), but feel safe enough in the knowledge that your child is his/her own person and has his/her own life to lead.
As Anne Frank once said… “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands”. You have given them all that they need to shine… now all that remains is to sit back and watch them do exactly that!