Tips for Parents

These tips may help prepare you to deal with common first-year experiences. They will help you think about how you react to situations you may encounter during this time of change. In addition, you may find the article "A Family Perspective on Responding to Predictable Changes in College Students" by Dr. Tom Brian to be of interest.

Expect Change

Your student will change between their first year of college and the time that they graduate. This change may occur quickly over a couple of months, or slowly over their entire college career. This change is natural, inevitable, and can be difficult for a parent to understand. You can't stop change. You may not be able to understand it, but you can accept it, which will benefit you and your student in the long run. Be patient.

It Takes Time To Adjust

The first few days of college tend to be very busy with meeting people, joining organizations, and adjusting to their new surroundings. This task may be difficult and some students may have moments where they long for the comforts of home. Don't be surprised if this is the case. However, most students adapt to their new environment, and in time get use to their new surroundings.

Write (even if they don't write back)

Freshmen are generally excited to experience all of their new independence during the first few weeks of the school semester. The family should not misinterpret this independence; news from home is always welcomed. You should write your student often and don't expect them to respond to each and every letter. But don't lose sight of the independence to your son or daughter or the value of receiving mail from home.

Ask Questions (but not too many)

College freshman are generally insecure, but eager, to establish their independence and often they are hesitant to share their new found life style. However, students desire the security of knowing that their family is still interested.

Parental inquiry can be counterproductive if done in a "I have a right to know" manner. Honest inquiries and communication and discussion will enhance the parent-freshmen relationship.

Be Supportive

Don't smother
Be supportive during difficult times
Visit - but not too often and no surprise visits
Be supportive and understanding

(Adapted from National Orientation Director's Association)