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Being a Supportive Parent for Your College Student

Leaving the nest is a mixed bag of emotions for both the parent and the child. From this moment forward begins a journey to independence for your son or daughter. There are many ways you can help whilst, at the same time, giving them their breathing room to grow into adulthood. A role you’ve known for years will be altered but always remember the strong bond of family never breaks no matter how far your child may go. This article will offer some advice on how you can be there for your college student as they take on this incredible adventure.

Figure out the Finances 

For many bright teens, college is now a rite of passage, but it comes at a hefty price. Be realistic, upfront and honest about what you can contribute financially. Arrange for your child to take out a private student loan to help cover the costs and alleviate some of the stress from you. Don’t tip toe around talking about money with them and make sure to explore all options for securing financial aid. Your child is going to have to learn how to budget what they have and learn the true value of money. They will see what they have from you, their loans and their own funds and discover how to pay for a variety of things. Always be there to advise but be sure to encourage them to work it out for themselves too.

Stay in Touch 

This doesn’t mean calling them every hour of every day to put them through an interrogation. Nor does it mean radio silence. Perhaps you could agree certain times but with a flexible attitude as you’re both bound to be busy with your new schedules. There are so many ways to communicate now too. You can Facetime, send pictures, tag each other in memes, Skype and chit chat on WhatsApp. You’ll have lots to talk about but let them tell you in their own way and allow them to have fun and enjoy themselves. Comfort them when they’re homesick by sending pictures of the family, pets and local places. Help them through these emotions by getting them to send photos and videos of their new home and tell them how great it looks.

Be Prepared for a Rollercoaster Ride 

Your child could become overwhelmed with the workload, be embroiled in the party scene, get intofinancial difficulty or feel isolated. The point is that, sometimes, some students face bumps in the road as a certain expectation meets its reality. In these instances, you can offer warm words, advice if they ask for it, send care parcels and plan visits. These means are in your control. Nevertheless, you aren’t physically there with them and both parties have to accept that adults have to source out their own solutions. Encourage them to seek out what’s available to them – for example, campus counselling, support groups, charities, tutors and advisers. Remind them of how proud you are of what they’re doing, be positive and tell them to embrace the whole experience. Your son/daughter will thank you for all you do in years to come.

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