The answer is “yes”. (we will come back to this later)
When a kid is sent to college the exodus from being a child and living within their parent’s home to being a young adult truly begins. One major problem… teenagers being forced into an adult world, without being mentally equipped and prepared like an adult can lead to a lot of… [parents, fill in the blank]
Will your kid struggle? This is where that hefty “YES” from before comes into play.
Now Mom and Dad, please sit down and take three deep breathes because things are going to be alright. Your kid could may sustain some physical and emotional wounds during there college experience, but you kind of signed them up for it. Listen, all those nights you got on them for watching tv and making sure they started studying, the nights you made them their favorite dinner, those times you washed/dried their clothes (and probably folded), and the genuine efforts to hold to a 11pm curfew has all finally paid off.
They will have to do most or all of these things on their own now! [cue horror film music]
The question isn’t, “will my kid struggle?” it is, “how will they struggle and how will we respond?”.
To help you out a bit, here are some of the top re-occuring struggles for college students. I’ll include some pointers and a few “heads-up”.
If your kid has struggled at school, send over a tweet about it with the hashtag #thestruggleisreal
A FEW TOP COLLEGE STRUGGLES:
Some parents love the fact that their kid misses home, while also sympathizing with them. Keep in mind that homesickness is just as much about needs that are not being met at school as it is missing what they used to have. When you do get the coveted phone call from you kid at school, listen to them closely and just maybe you will be able to see if their homesickness is a result of having challenging classes, finding it hard to connect with others, or if they simply want a care package mailed to them (always a winner).
College is typically more demanding than high-school in terms of work and very frequently much less structured in terms of homework/study time. This transition can be challenging for freshman and It is common to see a slip in grades because of this in addition to managing all their new freedoms. From frequently losing their cell phone or homework to their train of thought, organization can impact both physical and mental arenas. If you kid shows signs of struggle with their organization skills, don’t panic. Together, look into a coaching program like www.YouTimeCoach.com and/or looking into the schools learning center services.
When we are the ones lacking sleep, it is easy to notice the difference. Freshman in college have this notion that they must perform at least 4 all-nighters the first semester, set a world record for cups of coffee or red bulls in a night, and put their ZZZ’s on the back burner. The reason behind this could be school work, a noisy environment, health issues, or higher priorities (pretty much everything). College has so much to offer a first year student, but this can create some priority confusion and FOMO (fear of missing out). Little trick, as your kid comes back for the holiday, take note of their sleep patterns. Typically the kids pulling late night study (or party) sessions will sleep in pretty late the first few nights home.
Keep these pieces of information handy for when your kid shows signs and symptoms of struggle. The best thing you can do for your kid is be supportive, actively listen to them, empathize, and practice the skill of being non-judgmental. The pay off will be far greater than reacting through fear and anxiety.
Any questions regarding your kid, college, and their struggles?