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Parenting Your College-Age Child

When you’re a parent, transition times can be tough for you and your kid. When your child first starts school, switches to a new school or heads off to college, you both need to make adjustments. The last one can be particularly hard because you are forging a new type of relationship with your child, one in which they still need your support and encouragement but also their independence. The tips below can help you strike a balance that will allow you to forge a new relationship.

Mom with teens

The Small

Ideally, you’ve been giving your child more independence and responsibility throughout their teen years so that they are ready to deal with the challenges of living away from home once they head off to college. Whether you have or not, this is the time to let them work out issues with professors, problems with roommates and other conflicts that arise. You want to be there for your child, but if their instinct is to immediately message you in these situations, you may need to start weaning them away from this so that they can begin to stand on their own more readily.

The Big

Your young adult child will still need you for the big things. This probably includes paying for a good chunk of their tuition and living expenses while they are in college. You may also need to keep an eye on their mental and emotional health and make sure they are taking care of themselves. It’s normal to have ups and downs in college and even go through some genuinely hard times, but if you start to notice that your child has fallen into a depression and it begins to affect daily activities, you need to step in.

If your child’s school offers a telehealth option, they might be more willing to seek help this way since they could do it at home and potentially even from a phone. You may feel better prepared to handle a situation like this after reviewing a guide about dealing with depression in college students. Above all, it’s important for your kid to understand that you will be there for them to catch them when they truly need it.

The Future

You probably have some ideas about what you think your child should study in college and the type of career they should pursue, but you will need to step back and let them find their own way. There might be times when your child wants to pursue interests that seem impractical or are not in line with how you see them. They may also have opportunities to pursue things that you see as risky, but you must allow them to embrace challenges.

Even if they fail, this will help them understand that failure can be overcome and is not something to be afraid of. On the other hand, you can still be a sounding board for their ruminations about what classes to take and what career path to pursue. However, you should approach these talks more as you would a conversation with a friend, one in which you may have advice to give without demanding that they take it.

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