The day has finally arrived!
You help your child pack his or her bag and they wave you goodbye, leaving for their first class as a college student. As much you feel a mix of excitement and anxiety as a parent, your child will face a range of emotions as they move into a new life chapter, too.
Parents play a vital role in helping their child’s education; that much is obvious. As you invest a great amount of time, resources, and effort to send your children to college, there are times where you find yourself unprepared for transitions that might have a negative effect on your child’s growth. Taking the time to understand this phase will help you participate positively in your child’s smooth college transition.
But what are the things a parent should know?
One of the most underrated issues in the Philippines is mental health, yet it poses a tremendous impact in society, especially with students. Most parents tend to think that as children enter schooling, they are enthusiastic and emotionally healthy. While it may be easy to think that your family is safe from mental illnesses like depression, the reality is that your child can be affected by it too. In fact, depression is one of the most common illnesses around the world. Suicide accounts for the second leading cause of death (after traffic accidents) for young adults aged 15-19. Stress factors can come from the school environment, peers, academic pressures, or even their families.
So what can I do to help my child adapt to college?
As a parent, you need to realize and accept that stress and emotional discomforts are all part of life.Though it will be hard for any parent to see their child struggle to solve all of their problems but the best lesson you, as a parent, can teach your child is to let them battle through it. Moreover, what you can do is to help them accept and find success through these difficulties.
- Help them recognize their feelings
Listen to what your child tries to tell you and don’t deny their feelings. Encourage them to narrate what they are going through. Help your child stay away from numbing activities like oversleeping, drinking liquor, stress-eating, or spending too much time on social media.
- Guide your children to love and be kind to themselves
Students who practice self-compassion and know their self-worth are more likely to deal with problems positively. They understand that difficulties are all part of their experiences and will come to pass. Lead them by practicing it inside your home.
- Maintain constant communication
Whether your child lives in a dorm or stays with the family, keeping in touch with each other is one of the best ways to let them feel they are not alone. Have a regular family dinner, or a phone call every weeknight. The key is to share with them your expectations and give them something to look forward to. Being aware that resilience is a fundamental part of a healthy college life, you can help your child cope with the inevitable predicaments.
Another issue that college students face is keeping the balance between their studies and other commitments. While there are many available resources as to how students can do this, your participation as a parent is of great importance, too.
How can I help my child developed a balanced college life?
- Introduce task management tools
Help them go through the rigors of college education by getting them familiar with tools and other applications that make organization easier. It can be an alarm clock, a planner, diary, or phone. Motivate them to use a management system that best works for them.
- Make use of the school website
Engage in a more interesting talk with your child by knowing the latest updates around their campus. Some school websites provide information on the academic calendar, extra-curricular events, exam dates, and many more. Knowing more about these topics can help you better connect with your child and seeing in advance where your child might need your advice in.
- Have a genuine support system
As your child struggles through their studies, you can best support them by staying positive and patient. Students still rely on their parents, even if your college kid would admit it or not, and it would be great to show them a good example. When they know that they have a reliable support system, challenges can be a lot easier to face.