College is a unique stage in a young person’s development. But newfound independence coupled with the pressures of classwork and the need to fit in can make this a very emotional time.
Tips from The Jed Foundation can help you help your child get through this transition.
Though your relationship is changing, do still offer emotional support. Talk openly about decisions you expect him or her to tackle on their own and at what point to ask for help. Discuss setting academic priorities and healthy ways to manage stress, like exercise rather than drinking.
Challenges faced by college students:
- More serious academic demands.
- Having to make new friends.
- Living on their own.
- Living on a budget.
- New freedom and its temptations.
Take full advantage of the college orientation to get to know the services offered on campus, including academic and emotional counseling. Making new friends is a common concern — remind your teen that all freshmen face this and encourage him or her to get involved with campus activities for a better overall college experience.
Use video chats and weekend visits to look for any worrisome changes. Feeling sad or anxious can be part of the transition — or cries for help. If your child needs coping skills or a support network, encourage him or her to access campus services right away.
If you think your child is having a problem with drugs or alcohol, look for the reason behind the behavior to correct it.
Warning signs of a student in distress:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Changes in appetite.
- Increase in headaches and illnesses.
- More argumentative and impatient.
- Disorganized, poor time management and unable to complete assignments.
The Jed Foundation has a detailed guide on Emotional Health and Your College Student.