Watching your child leave the nest is an emotional event. You have been through watching them fall as they learn to walk, having their first heartbreak, being confronted by conflict, and experiencing difficult situations. During the ups and downs of your teen’s lifetime, all you want is to protect them and provide them with the best life possible. Of course, we cannot control what happens outside of ourselves, but we can find ways to be there for them to provide them with tools for a fruitful life.
Whether you have vigorously helped your child fill out college applications, you have been involved in your teen’s school, or you have let your kid figure it all out on their own, there is no promise that your child will fulfill their ideals–they may not flourish in a college setting. And that is perfectly fine. Not every child that sets off to college right after high school is psychologically prepared for a drastic change. After all, college students are tasked with the responsibility of budgeting their own finances, staying healthy, maintaining their home, effectively scheduling their priorities, and learning about themselves. On top of that, college students are also faced with pressures to keep a social life by being involved in extracurricular activities, sports, clubs, and fraternities and sororities.
How Can You Help
Learning to let go while remaining supportive is the best you can do for your child. When your teen sets off to start their independent life, they need space to make their own decisions, but they do not have to do it alone. As a parent, you can guide your child the best to your ability while also honoring their choices.
Co-create a calendar with important dates such as midterms, competitions, major presentations, and counseling sessions. Then check in with your teen before or after the event to see how they are feeling. Listen to what they have to say about their feelings without judging nor offering advice unless they ask for it. At this stage, you have the opportunity to be their friend and their parent.
Being your child’s accountability buddy can help keep them on track with what they want to achieve in college. Have them make a list of goals for the semester–from volunteering for a school event to applying for a grant to having coffee with a certain amount of people per month. Check in with them once a month to see their progress and offer ways, such as a reminder text, to help them accomplish what they set out to do that semester.
Find Teen Support Groups in Your Area
If your teen has a mental health issue, it may be aggravated in a college setting. Those who suffer from social anxiety and depression may struggle to connect with others, alienating them from the social aspect of the college experience and even jeopardizing their schoolwork. If a teen suddenly finds themselves doing poorly in academics, their self-esteem might suffer. And when a teen feels like an outsider, they may be influenced to seek out drugs and alcohol to cope, or they may use substances socially to connect with others. You can suggest resources, like teen support groups, for preventative measures and to keep your child’s mental health a priority. Teen group therapy provides extra support for your teen who is figuring out their footing in the world, as well as how to manage a mental disorder in college.
For more information on teen group therapy, call Insight Treatment at (888) 295-9995.