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Parenting College Students - The Advantages Of Summer School

Jun 14, 2008
Parenting changes during the college years... College Students need parenting but a different kind of parenting. Actually, parenting college students is crucial. The maturing student must successfully negotiate these final years, their launching years from teen to adult.

During College, the student experiences doubts, insecurities, and other challenges that create anxiety, or the "leaving the nest" syndrome. The guidance that parents offer to their children during these college years will help them to cope with their anxieties. Home is still their anchor.

By effectively parenting college students, both the student and the parent will reap benefits now and in the future.

One of my recommendations is for Moms and Dads to encourage year-round school attendance. Parents should explore the advantages of summer school attendance with their student. The mere discussion keeps the child and parent connected. They decide together if this is something that will work for the family. This is a new idea. Sometimes the student has never even considered the benefits of remaining on campus and plugged in to the life they have established there.

When a college student knows that their parents are providing some over sight, they actually experience less anxiety. Just as in pre-school, they feel safe. Its a great benefit to take a difficult classes during the summer while they are not carrying a full course load. Then there is another side benefit, if they do this every summer they can progress toward an early graduation or graduate on time. If they graduate a semester early, a reward may be they use this semester to travel.

When discussing year-round college attendance, parents and the student will realize there is both a financial and a time management benefit. The bottom line... this is a good use of time.

Students may prefer the option of returning home for the summer and attending a local community college. Here is another idea... getting a part time job. Students may be homesick and just need to be home for a while. This is okay.

My point is, there needs to be some constructive activity during the summer. Working or taking courses is a great use of the time away from campus. Always keep your eye on the goal - graduation.

A big plus to this plan is students will have a different choice of professors. They may establish a more personal teacher-student relationship and experience greater success in summer school. This helps the grade point average. It is also a big relief to get a tough course behind you.

Let's be honest, after the first few weeks, the summer months are boring! The valuable commodity of time is wasted, and too much free time exacerbates the parental tendency to worry. Binge drinking, late night parties and other reckless behaviors are serious concerns.

When the student comes home for the summer, it is extremely important for the parents and the student to sit down and discuss "house rules". The student has been independent for a full school year so they will expect different rules. Of course they want to retain their independence but the parent has to be comfortable with the schedule too. The parent-child relationship is nurtured and grows stronger when there is good communication. So sit down and talk about this. Do not wait until you are angry about it.

What you want is a young adult that is more open to listening to parental advice. When a parent can discuss the advantages of going to school year-round in a language that the student will hear, the student may make responsible decisions. If your student does not make good choices, then as a parent, you need to decide what you choose to finance.

When a child is college age, I believe they always need to be building their resume. Whether they are doing volunteer work, internships or taking summer classes. Any travel or outside activity should reflect on their resume. I also believe that everyone is happier when they are busy and productive. This does not mean they cannot have fun. For example, if they take a tough academic course during the summer, suggest they take a fun elective with it.

My advise? Don't dictate to your student what they will do this summer. Just ask them, "So, what are you going to do this summer? Take summer classes or work?"
About the Author
Dr. Debi Yohn, http://CollegeWorks101.com, is an International Speaker with an elite private practice and a revolutionary parent mentor program. She has authored 4 books helping parents and their college students find success and joy in the college experience.
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