What Your New College Student Needs From You Now

During my son’s freshman year, my heart was initially crushed when he decided to go camping with friends during spring break. After I got over myself, I was thrilled at his opportunity to go on a bonding adventure with friends. Later, I enjoyed seeing photos and hearing his stories.

3. Offer Support When They Need It (But Don’t Freak Out)

During my son’s first year at college, a young man in his dorm committed suicide, and more recently, he helped take a friend with a serious alcohol problem to the emergency room.

As we see our kids encounter life’s tragedies and challenges, it’s tempting to freak out, but they need us to stay calm and listen. When your child is facing situations like these, he may need you to call him more often to listen first, then offer a word of hope or encouragement.

4. Encourage Independence

Now is the time for control freak moms like me to let go of micromanaging. My husband is so much better at this than I am. For example, he encourages the kids to fill out their own financial aid forms, instead of handling everything himself.

I keep reminding myself, “Don’t do anything for them that they can do for themselves. You already have enough to do, and they need to learn it anyway.” Let’s help our children grow into adulthood by taking responsibility for themselves.

5. Give Them Permission to Grow Through Failure

Our children will make mistakes, and sometimes they need space to learn things for themselves in the school of hard knocks, just like we do. If your child overdrafts her bank account, don’t overreact. Stay positive and let her know you’re confident she’ll learn how to manage her money better in the future. But make her responsible to pay the banking fees. Having less money to spend the following month is a valuable lesson about real life.

Our child’s first year in college is a growing time, not only for him, but also for us. We’re learning to walk in a new parenting role, as coach instead of caretaker. Sometimes we’ll be tempted to worry or micromanage. We’ll make mistakes and fall into Helicopter Mom tendencies. But as we ask God to help us trust Him, He’ll give us the wisdom we need to be the parents our new college student needs.


This piece originally appeared on faithspillingover.com, published with permission. 

Betsy de Cruz
Betsy de Cruzhttp://faithspillingover.com
Hi, I’m Betsy. I write to encourage people to stick close to God, even when life gets bumpy and crazy. Let’s learn together how to get more of His Word IN so our faith can spill OUT into our everyday. Read more of my work at faithspillingover.com.

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