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Discussions to Have with Your Child Prior to Going to College

Soon, your child is going to be a college student, which means you are going to be a busy body in between helping your child with all the financial papers, planning, and getting everything on their shopping list (necessary school supplies, books, and health forms, etc.). You may spend a lot of your time just talking! Talking about when they were still little and all the special events, vacations, and other occasions.

This is where you need to take a deep breath, get the crying over, and do what you got to do! Remember, it is crucial that your child be allowed to make many of their own decisions on things, regardless of how you feel about it. Each time your child makes the decision or selects their choice, it is helping to build up their confidence, which in return is helping them to be more responsible and act more mature.

Now is the right time for asking your child questions you have been waiting to ask; just remember, less talk on your part but more listening. Make sure the questions are important ones and be prepared with what you are going to say to their answers. By now, you have more than likely taught your child how to do their own laundry and shop; now, just be sure they do not forget a good reading lamp for their room in the dorm. 

The main thing you can help with at this point is to prepare for what is to come, both mentally as well as emotionally. 

The Following a List of Discussions You Need to Have with Your Child Prior to Leaving for College:  

Let Them Know That You Are Proud to Be Their Parent(s)    

Tell your child that you know it has been a bumpy road for them getting to where they are at today, and to give you a call anytime they need to talk, “just be sure that you call home on a regular basis, so we know how everything is going, anytime day or night.” I feel confident that you have a good head on your shoulders, and I believe in you!

Know What Your Child’s Fears, Expectations, and Hopes for College Are by “Listening”   

The main they for you to do when talking is first to “listen,” then brainstorm together, and finally, reassure them. This is going to be a big change for them, and they will have to adjust to different things, but they need to remember to nurture themselves too. 

Nearly all new students go through a period of anxiety and get homesick while adjusting to college life. It may be helpful to connect with other students who are in the same boat they are. Ask your child, “Are you comfortable with making new friends? If you need some help, would you reach out to get that help? And do they know who to talk to should they have any roommate issues? Ask if they have considered different activities and/or routines to do to keep their sanity while not studying?

Get Inquisitive About the Academics They Are Going to Take   

How are they going to decide on the classes to take? Tell them that at least one of their classes should be something they will enjoy; it will help to balance out the others. A lot of students end up feeling that college is a lot more difficult than they initially thought it would be, and these students reach out for a tutor, spend a lot of their time in the writing lab, and they even ask their professors for help sometimes, so this is something they should keep in mind.

Although students in college do not spend as much time in classes as they did in high school, that does not mean the time left is meant to be wasted. Any extra time is intended for students to spend studying to make better grades. Inquire about the extracurricular activities they plan on taking.

Discuss Alcohol and Drugs   

Many experts in the field of drugs and alcohol believe that students just starting their first semester are more at risk than those who have begun their second semester. This comes from all the hospitalizations of college students, which continue to rise. It is also believed that it is partly due to the students in their first semester are in a position they have not previously been used to,  which is having their independence and managing their social lives.

Usually, first-semester students, when starting college, have never encountered alcoholic beverages; if they have, it would more likely have been just a few beers and such. However, once they start college, especially while in their first semester, it pays for them to either know the amount they can handle and when to stop or not accept any drinks from anyone. 

Does Your Child Know Their Limits When Drinking?    

Talk with your student to be about the problem that goes on in colleges in today’s world. Tell them about the binge drinking and challenges, including beer pong, that they are doing these days in colleges. Give them the facts on college students driving and drinking, which is that “every year, a big number of college students end up driving while intoxicated, and every year, a big part of those end up dead!

Does your child know that taking drugs that belong to someone else can be fatal? For instance, if your child’s friend offered them some of their Adderall (A medicine that is given to kids for ADHD, attention deficit disorder), do they know how dangerous it is and to say no? Let them know that it could be potentially fatal.

Talk to your child about the buddy system, and be sure they know you mean business! Also, inform them that you will be setting up a Lyft or Uber account, and you will need them to learn how to use it before going off to college. Let them know you intend to pay for this yourself, and it will be an available choice for them in case they should need it for their safety.