Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

Going off to college is a huge adjustment for both students as well as their parents. Yes, your baby is leaving the nest and it can be quite an emotional time. No parent likes to think that their child no longer needs their parental guidance. But in reality, your child (whether they openly admit it or not) will definitely need your help. How could they not? No one strolls into college completely confident; they will absolutely need you. However, a lot of parents can be somewhat smothering to an active college student.  It is important to demonstrate your support while maintaining a healthy distance.

Avoid becoming the helicopter parent- don’t hover and smother!

To begin, first year students definitely need encouragement and advice from their parents to make their first year an enjoyable experience. They need emotional support to get them through the inevitable stresses that result from their academic and social schedules. At times, though, you should let your child come to you with their concerns. Constantly calling and asking, “Is my baby okay?” will only turn them off. Be careful not to push too hard.

Respect each other’s time, schedule!

A great idea that gives your child a decent amount of space is to set a time for the two of you to talk. Perhaps you decide that you each make yourselves available every other day at 6pm. Or maybe you say that you’ll talk at least three times a week. Designating a specific time keeps the communication lines open without you feeling like you’re interrupting your child in the middle of something important.

Don’t worry- they miss you

At times, you can be sure that you’ll feel like your child has forgotten you. Don’t. Parents do not need to worry about their children forgetting about them if they do not speak to them for a couple of days. I speak from personal experience. Trust me, they are missing you and your homemade spaghetti just as much as you miss them. Even the kids that proudly say, “I can’t wait to leave home and get some freedom,” will miss the structure that comes with someone taking care of them.

But keep in mind that they are also trying to become independent young adults. They are at college, having some of the most influential experiences they’ll ever have. They may not know it yet, but those four years may very well shape the rest of their lives.

Remain their rock

At the time of writing, I can only speak from the perspective of a college student and I cannot pretend to know exactly what it is like to have my child leave the nest. However, I know that one day I will most likely go through the same thing you are feeling. When that time comes, I hope that I can effectively use my knowledge to handle that hardship. True, your child will be living it up at college. There will be parties, relationships and hard times. You need to be the rock that your “little” ones can fall back on when the going gets tough. I wish you the best of luck.

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Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb

Betsy Loeb is a senior at the University of Illinois majoring in Broadcast Journalism. She lacks the ability to draw, so she loves being able to express her creativity instead through her writing. She considers herself the “coolest nerd,” spending many Friday nights indoors playing Guitar Hero and discussing Pokemon cards with her friends.