Starting college can be as intimidating as exciting so we should expect the young adults to feel overwhelmed by the whole idea of college. When we are about to start college for the first time, we go through a bombardment of numerous tips, advice and what not. We end up getting confused, and in many cases, terrified.
The role of parents at this starting-point of an important phase of children’s lives becomes all the more integral to how the latter responds to a new environment. There are many things which parents must keep in mind to ensure that children are prepared for college—and let me tell you that drawing from one’s own experience is not necessarily the right way of going about it—it is important to broaden our horizons.
In this post, I have talked about 5 things which parents should keep in mind while dealing with fresh college students at home:
- Accept That They Are Largely On Their Own
Deep inside, parents always see their children as babies. But, of course, they know that the time will come to let go—and I say that the beginning of college is the right time if you have not been able to let go before that.
College life marks the journey of a person into a world where you have to be competitive and independent. You will have to make most of the choices—whether it is about friends, love, studies, and other things. When in college, the sense of independence will grow stronger and trying to contain it will have its own repercussions.
As a parent, you would want to see your children grown into fine persons and hence, try giving them as much space as is reasonable to ensure that they are able to engage in holistic development. This does not mean that you leave them as they are; always be ready to offer them counseling whenever necessary.
- Do Not Pressurize
If you thought school was competitive, college is even more. The level of competition is on another scale. When in college, competition can be cut-throat as well as ugly, and it becomes necessary that mental equilibrium is maintained throughout to handle the emanating pressure.
Many times parents ride on the competitive wave and consider themselves as part of the competitive arena themselves. They channelize their aspirations and goals to their children, who get subjected to intense pressure.
Keeping expectations is not wrong; the way you keep them can be. Your child is only a human and he cannot be everything you want him to be. Even you cannot be many things you want!
- Encourage Extra-Curricular
Extra-curricular activities often start losing relevance in the lives of college-going students. The education system is such that you are indoctrinated with the idea that academics is all that matters—when it does not. There are so many other things which matter aside from academics. In fact, engagement in extra-curricular activities can get your child brownie points and score a scholarship. Plus, he will get time to take a breather whenever needed.
Encourage your child to participate in extra-curricular activities such as debates, swimming, moot courts, and others. Also, such engagement will keep your child level-headed and not allow academic pressure to crush him.
- Be On Guard
College life means that you will inevitably have less knowledge of what goes on in the lives of your children. Face it, peers will start becoming more prominent in their lives—and you cannot stop it. With such inflow of peers in social circle, bad influences may also happen.
You cannot keep a watch on everything, but that does not mean you put your guard down. It is highly advised that you talk to your children about common college-related issues such as drugs, drinking, bullying, and others. These are areas in which your children—who have just graduated from school and have been forced to act like adults now—need immediate and thorough counseling.
- Listen To Your Children
It is often seen that children start drifting apart from parents during college life because of the lack of support they receive from parents. Lack of support, here, does not necessarily mean monetary support; it also means a lack of consideration for the problems faced by children at college.
It is necessary that you keep yourself open-minded. A very common catchphrase in Indian households is “we were also in college and nothing like that happened to us”. AVOID anything of this sort. Every person experiences situations differently, and you need to be not prejudiced if you want to help your child.
College life can be torturous. You should be there with your children to ensure no harm comes to them!
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