Things I Wish I Knew Before I Sent My Son to College
Submitted by dyohn
As a psychologist, mother and well-informed parent, I thought I had all the bases covered when my son went off to college. I read the books, earned my doctorate and generally stayed on top of the whole parenting "thing" probably more than any other person I know.
In spite of all that, my worst nightmare came true ...
I got the call that every parent dreads in the middle of the night. My only child, a college sophomore, was killed in a hit-and-run accident. This was no fault of his. Things can happen to young adults, even when they are doing everything right.
One incident or one death is one too many. Each student is someone's child.
After the long period of grief that you would expect from this kind of life event, I got mad. I was mad that nobody ever gave me the advice I'm about to give you.
7 Things I Wish I knew Before I Sent My Son to College
1. Have discussions about your expectations for their conduct. There are many potential diversions and behaviors that can derail your child's education completely such as cheating, plagiarizing, unwelcome sexual activity, drug use and excessive drinking. So, reinforce the point that they want to graduate in approximately four years with a degree. This should take place in a calm, comfortable environment. Do not wait to discuss these sensitive topics in anger or crisis.
2. Never let your college student son or daughter have a car for the first two years. Most students don't have cars. If your child does, every time one of their friends wants to go somewhere, guess who drives? This puts your child on the road more often. More Road Time = More Risk Time. So take away a stressor and keep your college student on campus participating in campus activities. (Obviously this does not pertain to commuting students.)
3. Students should live on campus or in housing for students. Parents should also visit the dorm or apartment to be familiar with the environment. I urge parents of new college students to walk across campus during off-hours and social hours to observe the campus in different situations.
4. Control their idle time. Students should not have too much idle time. Part-time jobs, volunteer activities, participation in sports and internships should be expected. I urge parents to sit down with a daily calendar and have the student give you their daily schedule.
5. Don't give your kid too much money! Students should be accountable for their spending money. It takes money to party and head off campus.
6. Listen to your inner voice. Parents of college students should use their intuition when they suspect something is wrong. I am a strong believer that our intuition is often correct. If your college student son or daughter misses a phone time with you, cuts calls short or cannot be reached then you have good reason to be wary. These are indicators that there could be a problem.
7. Get the right, must-have telephone numbers—all seven of them! Having just your child's phone number won't help if he doesn't have his phone or can't talk on it. You should have the following numbers: the R.A. (Room Advisor in the dorm), campus security, student advisor, college roommate, friends (at least one), and the parents of the roommate and friends of roommate.
These seven strategies are also found in my book Parenting College Students: 27 Winning Strategies for Success.
You can get this free eBook on CollegeWorks101.com
This article is meant to be a wake-up call for you as a parent of a college student. It is not meant to alarm you or scare you. Know that colleges are designed to be safe and although your child is on their own, there is a large "bubble" of support surrounding them.
More importantly, you should also know, that as a college student's parent you have more control than you might think over whether your college student is happy and safe all the way to graduation. My goal since that very bad night, half a world away, is that all college parents start doing the small things that improve their child's chances for college success. You can improve the odds by understanding and exercising your changing parenting responsibilities.
Parents from around the world have sought College Parenting Expert Dr. Yohn's advice on successfully getting college students through college with an emphasis on graduation and rewarding employment. Now for the first time, she reveals 27 Winning Strategies for Success â a guidebook geared to parents of new college students. Get her free e-Book at CollegeWorks101.com now and improve your child's chances of a successful college experience.