College Here We Come!
Project Prepare the Parents
How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?~Dr. Seuss
There are so many steps in getting ready to move away to go to college, for both parents and the college student. Not only is there the preparation leading up to the move, but then there is the drop off, getting settled, starting school, and then adjusting to being away from home. As you read below, keep in mind that everyone is different, and what may work for one person might not work for another. I hope that these tips provide you some support and comfort in helping to prepare you for your child leaving for college.
Prior to leaving:
- Parents, talk with your children about the values and morals that you have instilled in them for so many years.
- Let them know about your expectations as a responsible young adult, and what it’s like to live on your own for the first time.
- As with any peer interaction in a social setting, there can be a lot of peer pressure to “have a good time.” This means something different for each person.
- Ask them how you can be helpful.
- Often times, as parents, we want to make everything okay, and just right for our children.
- Your college aged child may have their own ideas of what they would like help with, and what they would like to prepare for on their own.
- Prepare a care package to take with you, and leave for them when it’s time for you to go home. This provides a sense of comfort and familiarity for your child.
- Prior to your leaving with your child for college you might think about obtaining three important legal documents:
- Durable Power of Attorney – to be able to make any necessary decisions if your child becomes incapacitated.
- Medical Power of Attorney – to be able to make any medical decisions if your child is unable to do so.
- HIPPA release of information – to be able to obtain any medical information if needed.
Make sure to take a snapshot or scan these documents into your phone so that you have them handy at all times.
During Drop Off:
- When you go to help your child move into the dorm, or their living area, let them speak for themselves and guide you. This would also apply to when they are meeting new people. If they’re shy, that’s okay. It might take some time for them to feel comfortable, but remember that you will be leaving and they will have to be able to initiate conversations on their own.
- Let them decide how much help they would like getting their room ready.
- Expect that there might be something that you forgot. There’s always the local area stores, or you can always mail it when you get home.
- Encourage them to take a more in depth tour of their campus once they get settled. This is something they may want to do with your, or with their new friends.
- Be enthusiastic and encouraging. That may be really hard to do as a parent, but it is important that they see that you’re excited for them.
- Set a time for their first home visit. Generally, this is about 6 weeks after school starts. Sometimes, Homecoming Weekend is before that, which may give you the opportunity to visit them as well.
After Drop Off:
- Give them some space.
- Let your child be the one to contact you first. It’s tempting to want to call, but let them make the first move.
- If you’re on social media, and you are responding to one of their posts, be positive. It’s always hard for kids to hear that you miss them, especially right after dropping them off.
- Try to find something special for you to do when you first get home. It’s usually hard to come home, go into your child’s room, and not have them there. Go out for a special dinner, go to a movie, get a massage… (you get the drift).
Norine Vander Hooven is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has been in practice for 30 years. Norine views the decision to enter therapy as displaying strength and courage. For 5 years Norine supervised a mobile crisis response team for youth and specializes in trauma, suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and life transitions. Norine is also EMDR trained and uses this to work with people with PTSD and severe anxiety. Norine works with youth, adolescents, adults, and families.
If you would like more information, please contact Norine VanderHooven, LCSW at 805-870-8165
650 Hampshire Rd #210 Westlake Village, Ca 91361