Tips for Parents
As the parent of a new college student, you play an important role in helping your child succeed in a new environment. The following tips may help you better understand what to expect and discover ways you can help with the transition.
Be a Support
Most students still consider their parents to be their primary support system while in college. It may take some time to figure out what this new support will look like, but listening, encouraging and helping foster independence can go a long way.
The Trust Factor
Students who feel trusted by their parents are more likely to be confident, assertive, supported and know their limits. Students who do not feel trusted by their parents are more likely to be defiant, noncommunicative, followers and secretive. Trust the values you have instilled and their instincts.
Understand Culture Shock
Don’t be surprised if the excitement of college cools off after a while. It is natural to go through culture shock and it doesn't last forever. The stages are relatively the same for everyone beginning with the excitement of a new experience and environment. This gives way to disappointment and sometimes hostility as the newness of things are no longer exciting, but frustrating and sometimes overwhelming. Eventually, students adapt, meet friends, become involved and learn how to adapt to an academically challenging environment. If you feel your son or daughter is not adapting satisfactorily, there are many resources at Concordia that may help. Encourage your child to use the resources. You may also contact Student Success and Retention with your concerns to help get your child connected to the right resources.
Understand that stress may be new or more frequent than before. Help them develop stress management skills. Encourage utilizing the resources at Concordia and living a healthy lifestyle that includes nutrition, exercise, social time, and sleep. Balance is the key.
Research shows that involved students tend to be more satisfied and academically successful than uninvolved students. Of course, becoming too involved can be detrimental, too. Help them find a balance.
Resist the Urge to Fix Things
When students experience conflicts, resist the temptation to get involved. Foster a sense of independence, confidence, assertiveness and problem-solving by helping them deal with problems on their own. Encourage them to utilize the resources available to them on campus.
Avoid Being Too Critical
Before being critical of their academic performance, find out if they have done everything they know how to do to succeed. Ask about study skills, time management, test anxiety or difficulty understanding course material. Concordia has resources to help improve academic performance.
Patience is no less important now than it was during their toddler years. It’s a time of learning who they are in relation to the rest of the world. These are big lessons that do not always come easily or quickly.
Their ideas and behaviors may change during college and may not always coincide with your own. Remember that students are making sense of the world in their own ways and try to be open-minded about them.
Times They Are A Changing
Acknowledge that times are different than when you were in school, and that you are different people with different experiences. Listen and respect those experiences.
Laugh Often and Provide Perspective
Keep a sense of humor – it can help students deal with difficult situations and keep things in perspective.
Send packages and mail often. It doesn't matter what it is. It’s always exciting to receive mail.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it can be difficult. Do not read students’ mail. Instead, ask if it should be forwarded or saved for the next trip home.
Realize that Time is Precious
Students’ time management skills are tested and fine-tuned throughout their college years. Remind your student to prioritize tasks and set limits. But remember that this may apply to you, too. Be understanding if you’re told there isn't time to talk, and don’t show up unannounced unless you know that your child has the time to focus on you.
Accept Bad Days
Expect less than cheerful e-mails or calls. Some days or weeks are particularly stressful. Don’t worry. It’s normal. Of course, if the bad days seem to outnumber the good, talk about this with your student. They may need a little extra help.
Encourage a Social Life
Remember that college life isn't just about academics. A social life is important too, for a well-rounded education and to foster identity development.
Actively Listen and Empathize
Remember what it was like when you went through a significant life change. Everything is new and nothing is familiar. Empathizing will help you know how to be a good support.
Take Care of Yourself
You are still their number one role model. The way you live your life is an important influence on what they do with theirs.